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(^orttell Ittiuctaita Slibrati}
AMERICAN PIONEERS AND PATRIOTS.
LAST DUTCH GOVERNOR
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
~ Geo. D. Black/
D ' Colo.
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY,
Entered according to Act of Congress iu the year 1873, 07
DOr-D & MEAD
in ttie Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
It is impossible to understand the very remark
able character and career of Peter Stuyvesant, the
last, and by far the most illustrious, of the Dutch
governors of New Amsterdam, without an acquaint-
ance with the early history of the Dutch colonies
upon the Hudson and the Delaware. The Antiqua-
rian may desire to look more fully into the details
of the early history of New York. But this brief,
yet comprehensive narrative, will probably give most
of the information upon that subject, which the
busy, general reader can desire.
In this series of " The Pioneers and Patriots oj
America" the reader will find, in the " Life of De
Soto,'' a minute description of the extreme south
and its inhabitants, when the Mississippi rolled its
flood through forests which the foot of the white man
had never penetrated. " Daniel Boone " conducts
us to the beautiful streams and hunting grounds of
Kentucky, when the Indian was the sole possessoi
of those sublime solitudes. In the " Life of Miles
Standish, the Puritan Captain," we are made familiar
with that most wonderful of all modern stories, the
settlement of New England. " Peter Stuyvesant "
leads us to the Hudson, from the time when its ma-
jestic waters were disturbed only by the arrowy
flight of the birch canoe, till European colonization
had laid there the foundations of one of the most
flourishing cities on this globe.
In these Histories the writer has spared no labor
in gathering all the information in his power, re-
specting those Olden Times, now passing so rapidly
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
Discovery of the Hudson River.
The Discovery of America. — Colonies. — The Bay of New York.
— Description of the Bay. — Voyage of Sir Henry Hudson.
— Discovery of the Delaware. — The Natives. — The Boat
Attacked. — Ascending the Hudson. — Escape of the Pris-
oners. — The Chiefs Intoxicated. — The Return. — The Village
at Castleton. — The Theft and its Punishment. — The Return
to England • • 13
The Progress of Discovery.
Value of the Territory Discovered. — Fate of Hudson. — The Con-
spiracy. — Aspect of Manhattan Island. — The Trail which
has Widened into Broadway. — The Opening Commerce. —
The Fur Trade.— Visit of the English Man of War.— Ex-
ploring the Sound. — Commercial Enterprise Receives a New
Stimulus. — Erection of Forts. — Character of the Fur Trade. 3J
The Commencement of Colonization.
The Puritans. — Memorial to the States-General. — Disagreement
of the English and the Dutch. — Colony on the Delaware. —
Purchase of Manhattan. — The First Settlement. — An Indian
Robbed and Murdered. — Description of the Island. — Diplo
matic Intercourse. — Testimony of De Rassieres. — The P»-
hoons.— The Disaster at Swaanendael 54
The Administration of Van Twiller.
Friendly Relations Restored. — Wouter Van Twiller New Direc-
tor. — Captain Elkins. — Remonstrance of De Vrees. — Claims
for the Connecticut. — The Plymouth Expedition. — A Boat's
Crew Murdered. — Condition of the Colony in 1633. — Emi-
gration to the Connecticut. — Emigrants from Holland. —
The Red Rocks.— New Haven Colony Established.— Nat-
ural. — Indian Remonstrance Against Taxation. — Outrage
upon the Raritan Indians. — Indian Revenge. . . 77
War and its Devastations.
Approaching Hostilities. — Noble Remonstrance. — Massacre ot
the Natives. — The War Storm. — Noble Conduct of De
Vrees. — The Humiliation of -Kieft. — Wide-Spread Desola-
tion. — The Reign of Terror. — State of Affairs at Fort Nas-
sau. — The Massacre at Stamford. — Memorial of the Select
Men. — Kieft Superseded by Peter Stuyvesant. . . . too
New Netherland in 1646. — Early Years of Peter Stuyvesant.—
Decay of New Amsterdam. — The Germs of a Representative
Government. — Energetic Administration. — Death of Gover-
nor Winthrop. — Claims for Long Island. — Arrogance of
the Governor. — Remonstrance of the Nine Men. — The Pas-
toral Office. — Boundary Lines. — Increasing Discontent.—
Division of Parties. — Dictatorial Measures. . . . rj(
War Between England and Holland.
Action of the Patroons. — Settlements on the Hudson. — Alarm
of the Home Government. — Recall of Stuj-vesant. — His E*.
cape from Humiliation. — Difficulties between England and
Holland. — The Breaking Out of War. — Directions to Stuy-
vesant. — The Relations of the Colonies. — Charges Against
the Dutch Governor. — Their Refutation. — Efforts of Stuy-
vesant for Peace. — Noble Conduct of the Massachusetts
Government. — The Advocates for War 144
Another Indian War.
Conflict Between the Governor and the Citizens. — Energy of the
Governor. — His Measures of Defence. — Action of the Eng-
lish Colony. — Claims of the Government of Sweden. — Fort
Casimir Captured by the Swedes. — Retaliation. — Measures
for the Recapture of Fort Casimir. — Shooting a Squaw. — Its
Consequences. — The Ransom of Prisoners. — Complaints of
the Swedish Governor. — Expedition from Sweden. — Its Fate. 167
An Energetic Administration.
New Amsterdam in 1656. — Religious Intolerance. — Persecution
of the Waldenses. — The New Colony on South River. —
Wreck of the Prince Maurice. — The Friendly Indians. —
Energetic Action of the Governor. — Persecution of the
Quakers. — Remonstrance from Flushing. — The Desolation
of Staten Island. — Purchase of Bergen. — Affairs at Esopus.
— The Indian Council. — Generosity of the Indians. — New
Amstel. — Encroachments of the English I9:
The Esopus War.
Outrage at Esopus. — New Indian War. — Its Desolations. — Suffer-
ings of Both Parties. — Wonderful Energies of the Governor
— Difficulties of his Situation. — The Truce. — Renewal of
the V/ar. — The Mohawks. — The Controversy with Mass*-
chusetts.— Indian Efforts for Peace.— The Final Settlement.
— Claims of the English Upon the Delaware. — Renewed
Persecution of the Quakers . . 213
The Disastrous Year.
Purchase of Staten Island. — The Restoration of Charles Second.
— Emigration Invited. — Settlement of Bushwick. — The Pe-
culiar People. — Persecution of John Brown. — The Governor
Rebuked. — Cumulation of Disasters. — The Outbreak at
Esopus. — The Panic. — Measures of the Governor. — The In-
dian Fort. — The Expedition to Mamaket. — Capture of the
Fort. — Annihilation of the Esopus Indians. . . , 234
Encroachments of the English.
Annihilation of the Esopus Tribe. — The Boundary Question.—
Troubles on Long Island. The Dutch and English Vil-
lages. — Petition of the English. — Embarrassments of Gov-
ernor Stuyvesant. — Embassage to Hartford. — The Repulse.
— Peril of Nev? Netherland. — Memorial to the Fatherland.
.—New Outbreak on Long Island. — ^John Scott and his High-
handed Measures. — Strengthening the Fortifications. . . 257
Hostile Measures Commerued.
John Scott and his Movements. — Losses of the Dutch. — The First
General Assembly. — Action of the Home Government. —
Peace with the Indians. — Arrest of John Scott. — Governor
Winthrop's Visit to Long Island. — Sailing of the Fleet.—
Preparations for War. — The False Dispatches. — Arriv'. of
the Fleet. — The Summons to Surrender. . . . ajg
The Capture of New Amsterdam.
Tb? Approach of the Fleet. — The Governor Unjustly Censured.
— The Flag of Truce. — The Haughty Response. — The Re-
monstrance. — The Defenceless City. — The Surrender. — The
Expedition to the Delaware. — Sack and Plunder. — Change ,
of Name. — Testimony to the Dutch Government. — Death
of the Governor. — His Farm, or Bouwerie. — War Between
Holland and England.— New York Menaced by the Dutch. 30I
The Final Surrender.
The Summons. — The Bombardment. — Disembarkation of the
Land Force. — Indecision of Captain Manning. — The Sur-
render. — Short Administration of the Dutch. — Social Cus-
toms. — The Tea Party. — Testimony of Travellers. — Visit to
Long Island. — Fruitfulness of the Country. — Exploration of
Manhattan Island 334
The Olden Time.
Wealth and Rank of the Ancient Families. — Their Vast Landed
Estates. — Distinctions in Dress. — Veneration for the Pa-
troon. — Kip's Mansion. — Days of the Revolution. — Mr.
John Adams' Journal. — Negro Slavery. — Conseqaences of
the System. — General Panic 346
Discovery of the Hudson River.
The Discovery of America. — Colonies. — The Bay of New York.—
Description of the Bay. — Voyage of Sir Henry Hudson. — Dis-
covery of the Delaware. — The Natives. — The Boat Attacked. —
Ascending the Hudson. — Escape of the Prisoners. — The Chiefs
Intoxicated. — The Return.— The Village at Castleton. — The
Theft and its Punishment. — The Return to England.
On the I2th of October, 1492, Christopher Co-
lumbus landed upon the shores of San Salvador, one
of the West India islands, and thus revealed to as-
tonished Europe a new world. Four years after this,
in the year 1496, Sebastian Cabot discovered the
continent of North America. Thirty-three years
passed away of many wild adventures of European
voyagers, when, in the year 1539, Ferdinand de Soto
landed at Tampa Bay, in Florida, and penetrating
the interior of the vast continent, discovered the
14 PETER STUYVESANT.
Mississippi River. Twenty-six years more elapsed
ere, in 1565, the first European colony was estab-
lished at St. Augustine, in Florida.
In the year 1585, twenty years after the settle-
ment of St. Augustine, Sir Walter Raleigh com-
menced his world-renowned colony upon the Roa-
noke. Twenty-two years passed when, in 1607, the
London Company established the Virginia Colony
upon the banks of the James river.
In the year 1524, a Florentine navigator by the
name of Jean de Verrazano, under commission of
the French monarch, Francis I., coasting northward
along the shores of the continent, entered the bay
of New York. In a letter to king Francis I., dated
July 8th, 1524, he thus describes the Narrows and
the Bay :
" After proceeding one hundred leagues, we
found a very pleasant situation among some steep
hills, through which a very large river, deep at its
mouth, forced its way to the sea. From the sea to
the estuary of the river, any ship heavily laden might
pass, with the help of the tide, which rises eight feet.
But as we were riding at anchor, in a good berth,
we would not venture up in our vessel without a
knowledge of the mouth. Therefore we took the
boat, and entering the river, we found the country,
on its banks, well peopled, the inhabitants not much
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 15
differing from the others, being dressed out with the
feathers of birds of various colors.
"They came towards us with evident dehght,
raising loud shouts of admiration, and showing us
where we could most securely land with our boat.
We passed up this river about half a league, when
we found it formed a most beautiful lake three
leagues in circuit, upon which they were rowing
thirty or more of their small boats, from one shore
to the other, filled with multitudes who came to see
us. All of a sudden, as is wont to happen to navi-
gators, a violent contrary wind blew in from the sea,
and forced us to return to our ship, greatly regret-
ting to leave this region which seemed so commodi-
ous and delightful, and which we supposed must
also contain great riches, as the hills showed many
indications of minerals."
In the year 1609, a band of Dutch merchants,
called the East India Company, fitted out an expe-
dition to discover a northeast passage to the Indies.
They built a vessel of about eighty tons burden,
called the Half Moon, and manning her with twenty
sailors, entrusted the command to an Englishman,
Henry Hudson. He sailed from the Texel in his
solitary vessel, upon this hazardous expedition, on
the 6th of April, 1609. Doubling North Cape amid
storms and fog and ice, after the rough voyage of a
l6 PETER STUYVESANT.
month, he became discouraged, and determined to
change his plan and seek a northwest passage.
Crossing the Atlantic, which, in those high lati-
tudes, seems ever to be swept by storms, he laid in
a store of codfish on the banks of Newfoundland,
and, on the 17th of July, ran his storm-shattered
bark into what is now known as Penobscot Bay, on
the coast of Maine. Here he found the natives
friendly. He had lost his foremast in a storm, and
remained at this place a week, preparing a new one.
He had heard in Europe that there was probably a
passage through the unexplored continent, to the
Pacific ocean, south of Virginia. Continuing his
voyage southward, he passed Cape Cod, which he
supposed to be an island, and arrived on the i8th
of August at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay. He
then ran along the coast in a northerly direction and
entered a great bay with rivers, which he named
South River, but which has since received the name
of the Delaware.
Still following the coast, he reached the High-
lands of Neversink, on the 2d of September, and at
three o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, came
to what then seemed to him to be the mouths of
three large rivers. These were undoubtedly the
Raritan, the Narrows, and Rockaway Inlet. After
careful soundings he, the next morning, passed Sandy
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 17
Hook and anchored in the bay at but two cables'
length from the shore. The waters around him
were swarming with fish. The scenery appeared to
him enchanting. Small Indian villages were clus-
tered along the shores, and many birch canoes were
seen gliding rapidly to and fro, indicating that the
region was quite densely populated, and that the
natives were greatly agitated if not alarmed by the
Soon several canoes approached the vessel, and
the natives came on board, bringing with them green
tobacco and corn, which they wished to exchange
for knives and beads. Many vessels, engaged in
fishing, had touched at several points on the Atlan-
tic coast, and trafficked with the Indians. The in-
habitants of this unexplored bay had heard of these
adventurers, of the wonders which they brought
from distant lands, and they were in a state of great
excitement, in being visited in their turn.
The bay was fringed with the almost impenetra-
ble forest. Here and there were picturesque open-
ings, where Indian villages, in peaceful beauty, were
clustered in the midst of the surrounding foliage.
The natives were dressed in garments of deer skin,
very softly tanned, hanging gracefully about their
persons, and often beautifully ornamented. Many of
them wore mantles of gorgeously-colored feathers,
1 8 PETER STUYVESANT.
quite artistically woven together; and they had also
garments of rich furs.
The following morning a party from the vessel
landed, in a boat, on the Jersey shore. They were
received with great hospitality by the natives, who
led them into their wigwams, and regaled them with
dried currants, which were quite palatable. As they
had no interpreters, they could only communicate
with each other by signs. They found the land
generally covered with forest trees, with occasional
meadows of green grass, profusely interspersed with
flowers, which filled the air with fragrance.
Another party of five men, was sent to examine
the northern shore of the bay. They probably in-
flicted some gross outrage upon the natives, as the
crew of the Half Moon had conducted infamously,
at other points of the coast, where they had landed,
robbing and shooting the Indians. The sun had
gone down, and a rainy evening had set in, when two
canoes impelled rapidly by paddles, overtook the
returning boat. One contained fourteen Indians ;
the other twelve. Approaching within arrow shot,
they discharged a volley into the boat. One of
these keen-pointed weapons, struck John Coleman
in the throat, and instantly killed him. Two other
Englishmen were wounded.
The Indians seemed satisfied with their revenge
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. I9
Though they numbered twenty-six warriors, and
there were but two white men left unwounded, the
savages permitted them to continue their passage to
the vessel, without further molestation. The jour-
nalist, who records this assault, is silent respecting
the provocation which led to it.
Hudson was alarmed by this hostility, and ex-
pected an immediate attack upon the ship. He
promptly erected bulwarks along the sides of his
vessel as a protection from the arrows of the fleet of
war canoes, with which, he supposed, he would be
surrounded the next morning.
But the night passed quietly away ; the morning
dawned, and a few canoes approached from another
part of the bay, with no signs of hostility. These
peaceful Indians had manifestly heard nothing of the
disturbance of the night before. They came un-
armed, with all friendly attestations, unsuspicious of
danger, and brought corn and tobacco, which they
offered in exchange for such trinkets as they could
obtain. The next morning, two large canoes ap-
proached from the shores of the bay which was many
leagues in extent, one of which canoes seemed to be
filled with warriors, thoroughly armed. The other
Was a trading boat.
It is probable that those in the war canoe, came
as a protection for their companions. It is hardly
20 PETER STUYVESANT.
conceivable that the Indians, naturally timid and
wary, could have thought, with a single war canoe
containing scarcely a do^en men, armed with arrows,
to attack the formidable vessel of Sir Henry Hudson,
armed, as they well knew it to be, with the terrible
energies of thunder and lightning.
The Indians were so unsuspicious of danger,
that two of them unhesitatingly came on board.
Sir Henry, we must think treacherously, seized
them as prisoners, and ordered the canoes contain-
ing their companions, to keep at a distance. Soon
another canoe came, from another direction, with
only two men in it. Sir Henry received them both
on board, and seized them also as prisoners. He
intended to hold them as hostages, that he might
thus protect himself from any hostility on the part
of the natives.
One of these men upon finding himself a captive,
leaped overboard and swam ashore. Sir Henry had
now three prisoners and he guarded them very
closely. Yet the natives, either from policy or
from fear, made no hostile demonstrations against
The half Moon remained in the outer bay nine
days. Several exploring tours had been sent out,
visiting what is now known as the Jersey shore.
None of these, with the exception of the one ta
DISCOVERY OF JHE HUDSON RIVER. 21
which we have alluded, encountered any hostility
whatever from the natives.
On the nth of September, Hudson sailed
through the Narrows, and anchored in the still and
silent waters of New York harbor. These waters
had never then been whitened by a sail, or ploughed
by any craft larger than the Indian's birch canoe.
The next morning, the I2th of September, Sir
Henry again spread his sails, and commenced his
memorable voyage up the solitary river, which has
subsequently borne his name. Only here and there
could a few wigwams be seen, scattered through the
forest, which fringed its banks. But human life was
there, then as now, with the joys of the bridal and
the grief of the burial. When we contemplate the
million of people, now crowded around the mouth
of the Hudson, convulsively struggling in all the
stern conflicts of this tumultuous life, it may be
doubted whether there were not as much real hap-
piness in the wigwam of the Indian as is now to be
found in the gorgeous palace of the modern million-
aire. And when we contemplate the vices and the
crimes which civilization has developed, it may also
be doubted whether there were not as much virtue,
comparatively with the numbers to be found, with-
in the bark hut of the red man, as is now to be
22 PETER STUYVESANT.
found in the abodes of the more boastful white
Sir Henry Hudson hoped to find this majestic
river, inviting him into unknown regions of the
north, to be an arm of the sea through which he
could cross the continent to the shores of the Pa-
cific. It was not then known whether this conti-
nent were a few miles or thousands of miles in
breadth. For the first two days the wind was con-
trary, and the Half Moon ascended the river but
about two miles. The still friendly natives paddled
out from the shores, in their bark canoes in great
numbers, coming on board entirely unarmed and
offering for sale, excellent oysters and vegetables in
On the third day a strong breeze sprang up from
the southeast. All sail was set upon the Half
Moon. It was a bright and beautiful autumnal day.
Through enchanting scenery the little vessel plough-
ed the waves of the unknown river, till, having ac-
complished forty miles, just at sunset they dropped
their anchor in the still waters which are surround-
ed by the grand and gloomy cliffs of the Highlands.
The next morning, the river and its shores, were
enveloped in a dense fog, so that one could see but
a few yards before him. Taking advantage of this,
the Indian captives, whom Sir Henry Hudson had
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 23
SO treacherously ensnared, leaped out of one of the
port-holes, and swam ashore. As soon as they
reached the land, they raised loud shouts of hatred
The sun soon dispelled the fog, and the voyage
was continued, and by night the Half Moon reached
a point supposed to be near the present site of Cats-
kill Landing. The natives were numerous, and
very friendly. They came freely on board, appar-
ently unsuspicious of danger. It was noticeable
that there were many very aged men among them.
The river seemed full of fishes, and with their hooks
they took large numbers. The next day the In-
dians came on board in crowds, bringing pumpkins
and tobacco. The vessel's boats were sent on shore
to procure fresh water.
Early the ensuing morning, they pushed up the
river five miles, to a point probably near the pres-
ent city of Hudson.
Sir Henry Hudson does not appear to advantage
in the account transmitted to us of this exploration.
Mr. Sparks, in his American Biography, gives the
following extraordinary account of one of his pro-
"It is evident that great distrust was entertain-
ed by Hudson and his men towards the natives.
He now determined to ascertain, by intoxicating
24 PETER STUYVESANT.
some of the chiefs, and thus throwing them off their
guard, whether they were plotting any treachery.
Pie accordingly invited several of them into the
cabin, and gave them plenty of brandy to drink.
One of these men had his wife with him, who, the
Journal informs us, ' sate so modestly as any of our
countrywomen would do in a strange place.' But
the men had less delicacy and were soon quite mer-
ry with the brandy.
" One of them, who had been on board from the
first arrival of the ship, was completely intoxicated,
and fell sound asleep, to the great astonishment of
his companions, who probably feared that he had
been poisoned ; for they all took to their canoes and
made for the shore, leaving their unlucky comrade
on board. Their anxiety for his welfare soon in-
duced them to return ; and they brought a quantity
of beads, which they gave him, perhaps to enable
him to purchase his freedom from the spell which
had been laid upon him.
" The poor savage slept quietly all night, and
when his friends came to visit him the next morn-
ing they found him quite well. This restored their
confidence, so that they came to the ship again in
crowds, in the afternoon, bringing various presents
for Hudson. Their visit which was one of unusual
ceremony is thus described in the Journal :
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 2$
" ' So at three of the clock in the afternoon, they
came aboard and brought tobacco and more beads,
and gave them to our master, and made an oration
and showed him all the country round about. Then
they sent one of their company on land, who pres-
ently returned ; and brought a great platter full of
venison, dressed by themselves, and they caused
him to eat with them. Then they made him rev-
erence and departed, all save the old man that lay
It was now manifest that no northwest passage
to the Indies could be found in this direction, and it
was not deemed expedient to attempt to ascend the
river any farther in the ship. The mate, however^
was sent with a boat's crew, to explore the river
some distance higher up. It is supposed that the
boat ascended several miles above the present site
of the city of Albany, Hudson probably going a lit-
tle beyond where the town of Waterford now is.
Upon the return of the boat, the mate having re-
ported that it was useless to attempt ai»y farther
ascent of the river with the ship. Sir Henry com-
menced his return.
Carefully descending the winding channel of the
stream, he was so unfortunate as to run the ship
on a mud bank, in the middle of the river nearly
opposite the present city of Hudson. Without
26 PETER STUWESANT.
much difficulty the vessel was again floated, having
received no injury. But contrary winds detained
him upon the spot two days. In the meantime
several boat parties visited the banks on both sides
of the stream. They were also visited by many
of the natives who were unremitting in their kind
A fair wind soon springing up they ran down
the river eighteen miles, passing quite a large In-
dian village where Catskill now stands, and cast
anchor in deep water, near Red Hook. Baffled by
opposing winds and calms, they slowly worked their
way down the stream, the next two days, to near
the present point of Castleton. Here a venerable
old man, the chief of a small tribe, or rather patri-
archal family of forty men and seventeen women,
came on board in his birch canoe. He gave Sir
Henry a very cordial invitation to visit his little set-
tlement of wigwams, picturesquely nestled upon the
banks of the river. Distance lends enchantment to
the view. The little hamlet in a sheltered cove
where fertile meadows were spread out, was sur-
rounded by fields waving with the harvest. From
the deck of the ship the scene presented was one
of peace, prosperity and happiness. The smoke
ascended gracefully from the wigwam fires, children
were sporting upon the beach, and birch canoes, al-
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 2/
most as light as bubbles, were being rapidly paddled
over the glassy waves.
The good old chief took the English captain
ashore and led him into his palace. It was a very
humble edifice, constructed of bark so carefully over-
lapped as effectually to exclude both wind and
rain. It was from thirty to forty feet long and
eighteen feet wide. There was a door at each end,
and ample light was admitted by an opening ex-
tending along the whole length, through which the
smoke of the fires could escape. The interior was
finished with great care, and very smoothly. Un-
der certain states of the atmosphere and of the
wind the smoke freely ascended, causing no embar-
rassment to those within. The ground floor was
neatly covered with mats, except in the centre
where the fire was built. The whole interior as Sir
Hudson entered it, on a serene autumnal day, pre-
sented a very cheerful aspect. One might easily be
pardoned for imagining, in that hour, that the life
of the American savage, free from care, was appar-
ently far more desirable than that of the toil-worn
Sir Henry, with the few who accompanied him,
was received with great hospitality. Some Indians
were immediately sent into the forest for a dinner.
They soon returned with some pigeons which they
28 PETER STUYVESANT.
had shot with their arrows. A nice fat puppy was
also killed, skinned with a clam-shell, and roasted
in the highest style of barbaric culinary art. Thick
mats were provided as seats for the guests at this
royal festival. Hudson was urged to remain all
night. He was evidently a man of very cautious,
if not suspicious temperament. He could not, or
did not conceal, from the Indians his fears that they
were meditating treachery. These artless men, to
convince him that he had nothing to apprehend,
actually broke their bows and arrows, and threw
them into the fire. But nothing could induce Hud-
son to remain on shore through the night. He de-
scribes the land here as very fertile, bearing abun-
dantly, corn, pumpkins, grapes, plums, and various
other kinds of small fruits.
Availing himself of a fair wind, he again spread
his sails, and on the ist of October, cast anchor at
the mouth of Haverstraw Bay, in the vicinity of
Stony Point. He had scarcely furled his sails, when
a large number of natives came paddling out from
the shore in their little birch canoes. They were
entirely unarmed, bringing apparently in a most
friendly manner, furs, fish and vegetables for sale.
Soon quite a little fleet of these buoyant canoes
were gliding over the water. One Indian, paddling
beneath the cabin windows, and seeing hanging our
DISCOVERY OF THE HJDSON RIVER. 29
certain articles pilfered a pillow and a jacket. As
he was making off with his treasures the mate
caught sight of him, and seizing his gun mercilessly
shot him dead. A severe punishment for so trivial
a crime in an untutored savage.
All the Indians on board the Half Moon as they
heard the report of the gun, and saw their unfortu-
nate companion fall dead in his blood, were stricken
with terror. Some rushed into their canoes. Oth-
ers plunged into the river to swim ashore. The
vessel's boat immediately put off to pick up the ca-
noe with the stolen goods. As it was returning, a
solitary Indian, in the water, probably exhausted
and drowning, grasped the gunwale. The cook
seized a hatchet and with one blow, deliberately cut
off the man's hand at the wrist. The poor creature,
uttering a shriek, sank beneath the crimsoned waves
and was seen no more.
The next day, the Half Moon descended the
river about twenty miles through Tappan Sea, and
anchored, it is supposed, near the head of Manhat-
tan island. Sir Henry Hudson was apparently op-
pressed in some degree with the unjustifiable harsh-
ness with which he had treated the simple-hearted,
yet friendly natives. He was continually and in-
creasingly apprehensive of treachery. A single
canoe contai'iing several men approached the ship
30 PETER STUYVESANT.
Hudson's eagle eye perceived that one of these men
was one of the captives whom he had seized, but
who had escaped from his imprisonment by plung-
ing into the river and swimming ashore. The sight
of this man alarmed the captain, and he refused to
allow any of them to come on board.
It seems to us rather absurd to suppose that
half-a-dozen savages could think of attacking, from
a birch canoe, with arrows, a European ship with its
well-armed crew. It should be borne in mind that
we have the narrative from the white man only.
The Indians have had no opportunity to tell their
Mr. Brodhead, in his valuable history of New
York, gives the following account of the untoward
scenes which immediately ensued, compiling from the
most ancient records :
"But Hudson, perceiving their intent, would
suffer none of them to enter the vessel. Two ca-
noes, full of warriors, then came under the stern,
and shot a flight of arrows into the yacht. A few
muskets were discharged in retaliation, and two or
three of the assailanii were killed. Some hundred
Indians then assembled at the Point to attack the
Half Moon, as she drifted slowly by ; but a cannon-
shot killed two of them, whereupon the rest fled
into the woods. Again the assailants manned an-
DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. 3 1
Other canoe and again the attack was repulsed by a
cannon shot which destroyed their frail bark; and
so the savages went their way mourning the loss of
nine of their warriors. The yacht then got down
two leagues beyond that place, and anchored over
night on the other side of the river in the bay near
Hoboken. Hard by his anchorage and upon that
side of the river that is called Mannahatta, Hudson
noticed that there was a cliff that looked of the col-
or of white-green. Here he lay wind-bound the
next day, and saw no people to trouble him. The
following morning, just one month after his arrival
at Sandy Hook, Hudson weighed anchor for the
last time and coming out of the mouth of the great
river, in the which he had run so far, he set all sail
and steered off again into the main sea."
It is very evident that Sir Henry Hudson was
by no means a good disciplinarian. The authority
he exercised over his crew, was very feeble. A mu-
tinous spirit began already to prevail, and we are
told that they threatened him savagely. It would
appear that Sir Henry and his mate wished to re-
pair to Newfoundland, and after having passed the
winter, which was close upon them, there to resume
their voyage, in search of a northwest passage,
through Davis's Straits. But the turbulent crew
would not consent. They compelled the captain to
32 PETER STUYVESANT.
turn the prow of his ship towards Europe. After
the voyage of a month the Half Moon cast anchor
in the harbor of Dartmouth, England, on the 9th
of November, 1609.
It will be remembered that Sir Henry Hudson
was an Englishman, though he was sailing in the ser-
vice of the Dutch East India Company. When the
Dutch Directors heard of his arrival in England, and
of the important discoveries he had made, they sent
orders for him immediately to repair to Amsterdam.
At the same time the Dutch government claimed,
by the right of discovery, all that portion of the
North American continent along whose coasts Hud-
son had sailed and upon whose shores he had occa-
sionally landed, taking possession of the same in
the name of the Dutch government.
The English government, jealous of the advan-
tage which had thus been gained by the flag of
Holland, peremptorily forbade Hudson to leave his
native country ; and for several months the Hali
Moon was detained at Dartmouth.
The Progress of Discovery.
Value of the Territory Discovered. — Fate of Hudson. — The Conspir
acy. — Aspect of Manhattan Island. — The Trail which has Widen'
ed into Broadway. — The Opening Commerce. — The Fur Trade.
— Visit of the English Man of War. — Exploring the Sound. —
Commercial Enterprise Receives a New Stimulus. — Erection of
Forts. — Character of the Fur Trade.
The Half Moon was detained in England eight
months, and did not reach Amsterdam until the
summer of 1610. The Dutch Directors, though dis-
appointed in not finding in the region they had ex-
plored the much hoped-for Northwest Passage to
the Indies, were somewhat elated by the magnifi-
cent discoveries which had been made. The terri-
tory they claimed, by virtue of these discoveries,
extended from the mouth of the Delaware on the
South, to Cape Cod on the Northeast. The grand
river of Canada, the St. Lawrence, was deemed its
northern frontier. Its western boundaries were un-
explored and unknown.
This was indeed a princely territory to be owned
by any power. The climate was as favorable as any
34 PETER STUYVESANT.
to be found upon the globe. The soil was fertile,
the landscape being picturesquely diversified by
mountains and valleys. Vast forests, of the most
valuable timber, covered immense portions. Wild
fruits and nuts in great variety were found in profu-
sion. The territory was watered by several truly
magnificent rivers. The region was filled with
game ; and furs, of the richest kind and apparently
in exhaustless quantities, could be purchased of the
natives, at an almost nominal price.
It may be worthy of notice, that Sir Henry Hud-
son never revisited the pleasant region which he
had discovered, and which he had pronounced to
be ' as beautiful a land as the foot of man can tread
upon.' In the summer of 1610, Hudson entered
the service of a London company and sailed from
the Thames in the " Discovery," in search of either
a Northwest or Northeast passage to the Indies.
Passing Iceland, appropriately so called, he gazed
with astonishment upon Hecla in full eruption,
throwing its fiery flood and molten stones into the
air. Doubling the Cape of Greenland, he entered
Davis's Straits. Through these he passed into the
gloomy waters beyond.
After spending a dismal winter, in the endurance
of great privation, exposed to severe Arctic storms,
his mutinous crew abandoned him, in the midst of
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 3$
fields of ice, to perish miserably. The following art-
less account of this tragedy, which is taken from the
lips of one of the mutineers, will be read with inter-
est. The ship was surrounded with ice and the
crew in a starving condition.
" They had been detained at anchor in the ice,"
says Pricket, " about a week, when the first signs of
the mutiny appeared. Green, a;id Wilson the boat-
swairi, came in the night to me, as I was lying in my
berth very lame and told me that they and sev-
eral of the crew had resolved to seize Hudson and
set him adrift in the boat, with all on board who
were disabled by sickness ; that there were but a
few days' provisions left ; that the master appeared
entirely irresolute, which way to go ; that for them-
selves they had eaten nothing for three days. Tl.eir
only hope therefore was in taking command of the
ship, and escaping from these regions as quickly as
" I remonstrated with them in the most earnest
manner, entreating them to abandon such a wicked
intention. But all I could say had no effect. It
was decided that the plot should be put into execu-
tion at daylight. In the meantime Green went into
Hudson's cabin to keep him company, and to pre-
vent his suspicions from being excited. They had
determined to put the carpenter and John King
36 PETER STUYVESANT.
into the boat with Hudson and the sick, having
some grudge against them for their attachment
to the master. King and the carpenter had slept
on deck this night, but about daybreak, King was
observed to go down into the hold with the cook,
who was going for water. Some of the mutineers
ran and shut down the hatch over them, while
Green and another engaged the attention of the car-
penter, so that he did not observe what was going on.
" Hudson now came from the cabin and was im-
mediately seized by Thomas and Bennet, the cook,
who had come up from the hold, while Wilson ran
behind and bound his arms. He asked them what
they meant, and they told him that he would know
when he was in the shallop. Hudson called upon
the carpenter to help him, telling him that he was
bound. But he could render him no assistance be-
ing surrounded by mutineers. The boat was now
hauled along side, and the sick and lame were call-
ed up from their berths. I crawled upon the deck
as well as I could and Hudson, seeing me, called to
me to come to the hatchway and speak to him.
" I entreated the men, on my knees, for the love
of God, to remember their duty. But they only
told me to go back to my berth, and would not al-
low me to have any communication with Hudson.
After the captain was put in the boat, the carpentei
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 37
was set at liberty ; but he refused to remain in the
ship unless they forced him. So they told him he
might go in the boat and allowed him to take his
chest with him. Before he got into the boat, he
told me that he believed they would soon be taken
on board again, as there was no one left who knew
enough to bring the ship home. He thought that
the boat would be kept in tow. We then took
leave of each other, with tears in our eyes, and the
carpenter went into the boat, taking a musket and
some powder and shot, an iron pot, a small quan-
tity of meal, and other provisions.
" Hudson's son and six of the men were also put
into the boat. The sails were then hoisted and
they stood eastward, with a fair wind, dragging the
shallop from the stern. In a few hours, being clear
of the ice, they cut the rope by which the boat was
towed, and soon after lost sight of her forever."
The imagination recoils from following the vic-
tims thus abandoned, through the long days and
nights of lingering death, from hunger and from
cold. To God alone has the fearful tragedy been
The glowing accounts which Sir Henry Hudson
had given of the river he had discovered, and par-
ticularly of the rich furs there to be obtained, in-
duced the merchants of Amsterdam in the year
38 PETER STUYVESANT.
1616 to fit out a trading expedition to that region. A
vessel was at once dispatched, freighted with a varie-
ty of goods to be exchanged for furs. The enterprise
was eminently successful and gradually more mi-
nute information was obtained respecting the terri-
tory surrounding the spacious bay into which the
Hudson river empties its flood.
The island of Manhattan, upon which the city
of New York is now built, consisted then of a series
of forest-crowned hills, interspersed with crystal
streamlets and many small but beautiful lakes.
These solitary sheets of water abounded with fish,
and water-fowl of varied plumage. They were fring-
ed with forests, bluffs, and moss-covered rocks. The
upper part of the island was rough, being much bro-
ken by storm-washed crags and wild ravines, with
many lovely dells interspersed, fertile in the extreme,
blooming with flowers, and in the season, red with
delicious strawberries. There were also wild grapes
and nuts of various kinds, in great abundance.
The lower part of the islan'd was much more lev-
el. There were considerable sections where the
forest had entirely disappeared. The extended
fields, inviting the plough, waved with luxuriant
grass. It was truly a delightful region. The cli-
mate was salubrious ; the atmosphere in cloudless
transparency rivalled the famed skies of Italy.
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 39
Where the gloomy prison of the Tombs now
stands, there was a lake of crystal water, overhung
by towering trees. Its silence and solitude were
disturbed only by the cry of the water-fowl which
disported upon its surface, while its depths sparkled
with the spotted trout. The lake emptied into the
Hudson river by a brook which rippled over its peb-
bly bed, along the present line of Canal street.
This beautiful lake was fed by large springs and was
sufficiently deep to float any ship in the navy. In-
deed it was some time before its bottom could be
reached by any sounding line.
There was a gentle eminence or ridge, forming
as it were the backbone of the island, along which
there was a narrow trail trodden by the moccasoned
feet of the Indian, in single file for countless gener-
ations. Here is now found the renowned Broadway,
one of the busiest thoroughfares upon the surface
of the globe.
On the corner of Grand street and Broadway,
there was a well-wooded hill, from whose command-
ing height one obtained an enchanting view of the
whole island with its surrounding waters. Amidst
these solitudes there were many valleys in whose
peaceful bosoms the weary of other lands seemed to
be invited to take refuge.
Indeed it is doubtful whether the whole conti.
40 PETER STUYVESANT.
neiit of North America presented any region more
attractive. The salubrity of its clime, the beauty
of the scenery, the abundance and purity of the wa-
ters, the spacious harbor, the luxuriance of the soil
and the unexplored rivers opening communication
with vast and unknown regions of the interior, all
combined in giving to the place charms which could
not be exceeded by any other position on the conti-
The success of the first trading vessel was so
great that, within three years, five other ships were
sent to the " Mauritius river" as the Hudson was
first named. There was thus opened a very brisk
traffic with the Indians which was alike beneficial to
both parties. Soon one or two small forts were
erected and garrisoned on the river for the protec-
tion of the traders. Manhattan island, so favorably
situated at the mouth of the river, ere long became
the headquarters of this commerce. Four log
houses were built, it is said, upon the present site
of 39, Broadway.
Here a small company of traders established
themselves in the silence and solitude of the wilder-
ness. Their trading boats ran up the river, and
along the coast, visiting every creek and inlet in the
pursuit of furs. The natives, finding this market
thus suddenly opening before them, and finding that
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 4I
their furs, heretofore almost valueless, would pur-
chase for them treasures of civilization of almost
priceless worth, redoubled their zeal in hunting and
A small Indian settlement sprang up upon the
spot. Quite large cargoes of furs were collected
during the winter and shipped to Holland in the
spring. The Dutch merchants seem to have been
influenced by a high sentiment of honor. The most
amicable relations existed between them and the
Indians. Henry Christiaensen was the superintend-
ent of this feeble colony. He was a prudent and
just man, and, for some time, the lucrative traffic in
peltry continued without interruption. The Dutch
merchants were exposed to no rivalry, for no Euro-
pean vessels but theirs had, as yet, visited the Mauri-
sBut nothing in this world ever long continues
tranquil. The storm ever succeeds the calm. In
November, of the year 161 3, Captain Argal, an Eng-
lishman, in a war vessel, looked in upon the little
defenceless trading hamlet, at the mouth of the
Hudson, and claiming the territory as belonging to
England, compelled Christiaensen to avow fealty to
the English crown, and to pay tribute, in token of
his dependence upon that power. Christiaensen
could make no resistance. One broadside from the
42 PETER STUYVESANT.
British ship would lay his huts in ruins, and expose
all the treasures collected there to confiscation. He
could only submit to the extortion and send a nar-
rative of the event to the home government.
The merchants in Holland were much alarmed
by these proceedings. They presented a petition
to the States-General, praying that those who dis-
covered new territory, on the North American con-
tinent, or elsewhere, might enjoy the exclusive right
of trading with the inhabitants of those regions
during six consecutive voyages.
This request was granted, limiting the number
of voyages however to four instead of six. In the
meantime the Dutch merchants erected and garri-
soned two small forts to protect themselves from
such piratic excursions as that of captain Argal,
In the year 1614 five vessels arrived at Manhattan
to transport to Europe the furs which had been pur-
chased. Just as Captain Block was preparing to re-
turn, his ship, the Tiger, which was riding at anchor
just off the southern point of Manhattan island,
took fire, and was burned to the water's edge.
He was a very energetic man, not easily dismay-
ed by misfortune. The island abounded with ad-
mirable timber for ship building. He immediately
commenced the construction of another vessel.
This yacht was forty-four and a half feet long, and
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 43
eleven and a half feet wide. The natives watched
the gro\/th of the stupendous structure with astoa-
ishment. In the most friendly manner they render-
ed efficient aid in drawing the heavy timber from
the foiest to the shipyard. They also brought in
abundant food for the supply of the strangers.
Early in the spring of 1614 the " Restless " was
launched. Immediately Captain Block entered up-
on an exploring tour through what is now called the
East River. He gave the whole river the name of
the Hellegat, from a branch of the river Scheldt in
East Flanders. The unpropitious name still ad-
heres to the tumultuous point of whirling eddies
where the waters of the sound unite with those of
Coasting along the narrow portion of the sound,
he named the land upon his right, which he did not
then know to be an island, Metoac or the Land of
Shells. We should rather say he accepted that
name from the Indians. On this cruise he discov-
ered the mouths of the Housatonic and of the Con-
necticut. He ascended this latter stream, which he
called Fresh River, several leagues. Indian villages
were picturesquely scattered along the shores, and
the birch canoes of the Indians were swiftly paddled
over the mirrored waters. All else was silence and
solitude The gloom of the forest overshadowed
44 PETER STUYVESANT.
the banks and the numerous water-fowl were un-
disturbed upon the stream. The natives were
friendly but timid. They were overawed by the
presence of the gigantic structure which had invad-
ed their solitude.
Continuing his cruise to the eastward he reached
the main ocean, and thus found that the land upon
his left was an island, now known as Long Island.
Still pressing forward he discovered the great Nar-
ragansett Bay, which he thoroughly explpred, and
then continued his course to Cape Cod, which, it
will be remembered, Sir Henry Hudson had already
discovered, and which he had called New Holland.
Intelligence was promptly transmitted to Hol-
land of these discoveries and the United Company,
under whose auspices the discoveries had been
made, adopted vigorous measures to secure, from
the States-General, the exclusive right to trade with
the natives of those wide realms. A very emphatic
ordinance was passed, granting this request, on the
27th of March, 1614.
This ordinance stimulated to a high degree the
spirit of commercial enterprise. The province was
called New Netherland, and embraced the territory
within the 40th and 45th degrees of north latitude.
All persons, excepting the United " New Netherland
Company," were prohibited from trading within those
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERT. 4$
liipits, under penalty of the confiscation of both ves-
sels and cargoes, and also a fine of fifty thousand
The Company immediately erected a trading-
house, at the head of navigation of the Hudson
river, which as we have mentioned, was then called
Prince Maurice's River. This house was on an isl-
and, called Castle Island, a little below the present
city of Albany, and was thirty-six feet long and
twenty-six feet wide, and was strongly built of logs.
As protection from European buccaneers rather than
from the friendly Indians, it was surrounded by a
strong stockade, fifty feet square. This was encir-
cled by a moat eighteen feet wide. The whole was
defended by several cannon and was garrisoned by
This port, far away in the loneliness of the wil-
derness, was called Fort Nassau. Jacob Elkins was
placed in command. Now that the majestic Hudson
is whitened with the sails of every variety of vessels
and barges, while steamers go rushing by, swarm-
ing with multitudes, which can scarcely be counted,
of the seekers of wealth or pleasures, and railroad
trains sweep thundering over the hills and through
the valleys, and the landscape is adorned with pop-
ulous cities and beautiful villas, it is difficult to form
a conception of the silence and solitude of those re-
46 PETER STUYVESANT.
gions but about two hundred and fifty years ago.
when the tread of the moccasoned Indian fell noise«
less upon the leafy trail, and when the birch canoe
alone was silently paddled from cove to cove.
In addition to the fort in the vicinity of Albany,
another was erected at the southern extremity of
Manhattan Island at the mouth of the Hudson,
Here the company established its headquarters and
immediately entered into a very honorable and lu-
crative trafific with the Indians, for their valuable
furs. The leaders of the Company were men of in-
tegrity, and the Indians were all pleased with the
traffic, for they were ever treated with consideration,
and received for their furs, which they easily ob-
tained, articles which were of priceless value to
The vagabond white men, who were lingering
about the frontiers of civilization, inflicting innu-
merable and nameless outrages upon the »,a.tives,
were rigorously excluded from these regions. Thus
the relations existing between the Indians ar 6 their
European visitors were friendly in the highest de-
gree. Both parties were alike benefited by this
traffic ; the Indian certainly not less than the Eu>
ropean, for he was receiving into his lowly wigwam
the products of the highest civilization.
Indian tribes scattered far and wide through the
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY, 47
primitive and illimitable forest, plied all their ener
gies with new diligence, in taking game. They
climbed the loftiest mountains and penetrated the
most distant streams with their snares. Some came
trudging to the forts on foot, with large packs of
peltries upon their backs. Others came in their
birch canoes, loaded to the gunwales, having set
their traps along leagues of the river's coast and of
Once a year the ships of the company came
laden with the most useful articles for traffic with
the Indians, and, in return, transported back to
Europe the furs which had been collected. Such
were the blessings which peace and friendship con-
ferred upon all. There seemed to be no temptation
to outrage. The intelligent Hollanders were well
aware that it was for their interest to secure the
confidence of the Indian by treating him justly.
And the Indian was not at all disposed to incur the
resentment of strangers from whom he was receiving
such great benefits.
The little yacht " Restless," of which we have
spoken, on one of her exploring tours, visited Del-
aware Bay, and ascended that beautiful sheet of
water as far as the Schuylkill River. Runners were
also sent back from the forts, to follow the narrow
trails far into the woods, to open communication
48 PETER STUYVESANT.
with new tribes, to examine the country, asd to
obtain a more intimate acquaintance with the man-
ners and customs of the Indians.
In the spring of 1617 a very high freshet, accom-
panied by the breaking up of the ice, so injured
Fort Nassau that the traders were compelled to
abandon it. A new and very advantageous situation
was selected, at the mouth of the Tawasentha
Creek, subsequently called Norman's Kill. This
name is said to have been derived from a native of
Denmark, called the Norman, who settled there in
In this vicinity there was a very celebrated con-
federation of Indian tribes called the Five Nations.
These tribes were the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onon-
dagas, Cayugas and Senecas. They were frequently
known by the generic name of the Iroquois. When
the Dutch arrived, the Iroquois were at war with
the Canadian Indians, who, though composed of
different tribes, were known by the general name of
the Algonquins. The Iroquois had been worsted in
several conflicts. This led them eagerly to seek
alliance with the white men, who, with their won-
derful instruments of war, seemed to wield the ener-
gies of thunder and lightning.
The Algonquins had, some years before, formed
an alliance with the French in Canada. The Iro
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 49
quois now entered into an alliance with the Dutch.
Tt was a very important movement, and the treaty
look place, with many surroundings of barbaric
pomp, on the banks of the Norman's Kill.
Ambassadors from each of the five tribes graced
the occasion. Leading chiefs of several other tribes
were also invited to be present, to witness the im-
posing ceremony. The garrison furnished for the
pageant the waving of silken banners and the exhiU
arating music of its band. The Indian chiefs at-
tended with their decorated weapons, and they were
arrayed in the richest costume of war paint, fringed
garments, and nodding plumes.
The assembly was large. The belt of peace,
gorgeously embroidered with many-colored beads, on
softly- tanned deer skin, was held at one end by the
Iroquois chieftains, and at the other by the promi-
nent men of the Dutch Company, in their most
showy attire. The pipe of peace was smoked with
solemn gravity. The tomahawk was buried, and
each party pledged itself to eternal friendship.
The united nation of the Iroquois, in numbers
and valor, had become quite supreme throughout
all this region. All the adjacent tribes bowed
before their supremacy. In Mr. Street's metrical
romance, entitled " Frontenac," he speaks, in picas-
so PETER STUYVESANT.
ing verse, of the prowess and achievements of these
" The fierce Adirondacs had fled from their wrath.
The Hurons been swept from their merciless path.
Around, the Ottawas, like leaves, had been strown.
And the lake of the Eries struck silent and lone.
The Lenape, lords once of valley and hill.
Made women, bent low at their conquerors' will.
By the far Mississippi the Illini shrank
When the trail of the Tortoise was seen on the bank.
On the hills of New England die Pequod turned pale
When the howl of the Wolf swelled at night on the gale.
And the Cherokee shook, in his green smiling bowers.
When the foot of the Bear stamped his carpet of flowers."
Thus far the Iroquois possessed only bows and
arrows. They were faithful to their promises, and
implicit confidence could be reposed in their pledge.
The Dutch traders, without any fear, penetrated the
wilderness in all directions, and were invariably hos-
pitably received in the wigwams of the Indians.
In their traffic the Dutch at first exchanged for
furs only articles of ornament or of domestic value.
But the bullet was a far more potent weapon in the
chase and in the hunting-field than the arrow. The
Indians very soon perceived the vast advantage they
would derive in their pursuit of game, from the
musket, as well as the superiority it would give
them over all their foes. They consequently be-
came very eager to obtain muskets, powder and
ball. They were warm friends of the Europeans.
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 5 1
There seemed to be no probability of their becom-
ing enemies. Muskets and steel traps enabled them
to obtain many more furs. Thus the Indians were
soon furnished with an abundant supply of fire-arms,
and became unerring marksmen.
Year after year the returns from the trading-
posts became more valuable ; and the explorations
were pushed farther and farther into the interior.
The canoes of the traders penetrated the wide
realms watered by the upper channels of the Del-
aware. A trading-house was also erected in the
vast forest, upon the Jersey shore of the Hudson
River, where the thronged streets of Jersey City at
the present hour cover the soil.
We have now reached the year 161 8, two yea.s
before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
Though the energetic Dutch merchants were thus
perseveringly and humanely pushing their commerce,
and extending their trading posts, no attempt had
yet been made for any systematic agricultural volo-
The Dutch alone had then any accurate k.iowl-
edge of the Hudson River, or of the coasts of Con-
necticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island. In 1618
the special charter of the Company, confening upon
them the monopoly of exclusive trade with the
Indians, expired. Though the trade v/as thus
52 PETER STUYVESANT.
thrown open to any adventurous Dutch merchant,
still the members of the Company enjoyed an im-
mense advantage in having all the channels per-
fectly understood by them, and in being in posses-
sion of such important posts.
English fishing vessels visited the coast of Maine,
and an unsuccessful attempt had been made to
establish a colony at the mouth of the Kennebec
River. Sir Walter Raleigh had also made a very
vigorous but ujiavailing effort to establish a colony
in Virginia. Before the year 1600, every vestige of
his attempt had disappeared. Mr. John Romeyn
Brodhead, in his valuable history of the State of
New York, speaking of this illustrious man, says :
" The colonists, whom Raleigh sent to the island
of Roanoke in 1585, under Grenville and Lane,
returned the next year dispirited to England. A
second expedition, dispatched in 1587, under John
White, to found the borough of Raleigh, in Vir-
ginia, stopped short of the unexplored Chesapeake,
whither it was bound, and once more occupied
Roanoke. In 1590 the unfortunate emigrants had
wholly disappeared ; and with their extinction all
immediate attempts to establish an English colony
in Virginia were abandoned. Its name alone sur-
"After impoverishing himself in unsuccessful
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY. 53
efforts to add an effective American plantation to
his native kingdom, Raleigh, the magnanimous
patriot, was consigned, under an unjust judgment,
to lingering imprisonment in the Tower of London,
to be followed, after the lapse of fifteen years, by a
still more iniquitous execution. Yet returning jus-
tice has fully vindicated Raleigh's fame. And
nearly two centuries after his death the State of
North Carolina gratefully named its capital after
that extraordinary man, who united in himself as
many kinds of glory as were ever combined in any
TIte Commencement of Colonization.
The Puritans. — Memorial to the States-General. — Disagreement of
the English and the Dutch. — Colony on the Delaware. — Purchase
of Manhattan. — The First Settlement. — An Indian Robbed and
Murdered. — Description of the Island. — Diplomatic Inter-
course. — Testimony of De Rassieres. — The Patroons. — The Di*
aster at Swaanendael.
In the year 1620 the Puritans founded their
world-renowned colony at Plymouth, as we have
minutely described in the History of Miles Standish.
It will be remembered that the original company of
Puritans were of English birth. Dissatisfied with
the ritual and ceremonies which the Church of
England had endeavored to impose upon them, they
had emigrated to Holland, where they had formed a
church upon their own model. Rev. John Robinson,
a man of fervent piety and of enlightened views
above his times, was their pastor.
After residing in Holland for several years, this
little band of Englishmen, not pleased with that
country as their permanent abode, decided to seek a
new home upon the continent of North America.
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 55
They first directed their attention towards Virginia,
but various obstacles were thrown in their way by
the British Government, and at length Mr. Robinson
addressed a letter to the Dutch Company, intimating
the disposition felt by certain members of his flock,
to take up their residence at New Netherland.
The proposition was very cordially received.
The intelligent gentlemen of that Company at once
saw that there was thus presented to them an oppor-
tunity to establish a colony, at their trading post,
which it would be wise to embrace. They therefore
addressed a memorial upon the subject to the States-
General, and to the Prince of Orange, in which they
urged the importance of accepting the proposition
which they had received from Mr. Robinson, and of
thus commencing an agricultural colony upon the
island of Manhattan. In this memorial they write
under date of February, 1620:
" It now happens that there resides at Leyden
an English clergyman, well versed in the Dutch lan-
guage, who is favorably inclined to go and dwell
there. Your petitioners are assured that he knows
more than four hundred families, who, provided they
were defended and secured there by your Royal
Highness, and that of the High and Mighty Lords
States-General, from all violence on the part of other
potentates, would depart thithei, with him, from
56 PETER STUYVESANT.
this country and from England, to plant, forthwith,
everj'where the true and pure christian religion ; to
instruct the Indians of those countries in the true
doctrine; to bring them to the christian belief; and
likewise, through the grace of the Lord, and for the
greater honor of the rulers of this land to people all
that region under a new dispensation ; all under the
order and command of your princely Highness and
of the High and Mighty Lords States-General.
"Your petitioners have also learned that His
Britannic Majesty is inclined to people the afore-
said lands with Englishmen ; to destroy your peti-
tioners' possessions and discoveries, and also to
deprive this State of its right to these lands, while
the ships belonging to this country, which are there
during the whole of the present year, will apparently
and probably be surprised by the English."
The petitioners therefore prayed that the re-
quest of Mr. Robinson might be favorably regard-
ed ; that the contemplated colony should be taken
under the protection of the Dutch government,
and that two ships of war should be sent out for the
defencf of the infant settlements.
The Dutch government was then upon the eve
■of a war with Spain, and all its energies were de-
mande i in preparation for the conflict. They there-
fore q ite peremptorily refused to entertain the peti-
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 57
tion of the New Netherland Company. Thus the
destination of the Puritans was changed. Though
they were not encouraged to commence their colo-
nial life at New Netherland, still it was their inten-
tion when they sailed from England, to find a home
somewhere in that vicinity, as England, as well
as Holland, claimed the whole coast. A note, in
the History of New Netherland, by E. B. O'Calla-
ghan, contains the following interesting statement
upon this subject :
" Some historians represent that the Pilgrims
were taken against their will to New Plymouth, by
the treachery of the captain of the Mayflower, who,
they assert, was bribed by the Dutch to land them
at a distance from the Hudson river. This has been
shown, over and over again, to have been a calumny ;
and, if any farther evidence were requisite, it is now
furnished, of a most conclusive nature, by the peti-
tion in behalf of the Rev. Mr. Robinson's congre-
gation, of Feb. 1620, and the rejection of its prayer
by their High Mightinesses.
" That the Dutch were anxious to secure the set-
tlement of the Pilgrims under them, is freely admit-
ted by the latter. Governor Bradford, in his Histo-
ry of the Plymouth Colony, acknowledges it, and
adds that the Dutch for that end made them large
58 PETER STUYVESANT
" Winslow corroborates this in his ' Brief Narra-
tive,' and adds that the Dutch would have freely
transported us to the Hudson river, and furnished
every family with cattle. The whole of this evi-
dence satisfactorily establishes the good will of the
Dutch people towards the English ; while the de-
termination of the States -General proves that there
was no encouragement held out by the Dutch gov-
ernment to induce them to settle in their American
possessions. On the contrary, having formally re-
jected their petition, they thereby secured them-
selves against all suspicion of dealing unfairly by
those who afterwards landed at Cape Cod. It is to
be hoped, therefore, that even for the credit of the
Pilgrims, the idle tale will not be repeated."
There were many indications that a conflict
would ere long arise between the Dutch and the
English. The English repudiated entirely the
Dutch claim to any right of possession on the Atlan-
tic coast. They maintained their right to the whole
American coast, from the Spanish possessions in Flor-
ida, to the French posts in Canada. The English
government founded its claim upon the ground of
first discovery, occupation and possession. Various
companies, in England, had, by charters and letters
patent from their sovereigns, been entrusted with
these vast territories. It was quite evident that
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 59
these conflicting claims between England and Hol-
land must eventually lead to collision.
The Dutch merchants continued to push their
CDmmercial enterprises in New Netherland with great
energy. They were preparing to send quite a large
fleet of merchant vessels to the extensive line of
coast which they claimed, when the British mer-
chants composing what was called the Plymouth
Company, took the alarm, and presented a petition
to James I., remonstrating against such proceedings.
The British government promptly sent an ambas-
sador to Holland to urge the States-General to pro-
hibit the departure of the fleet, and to forbid the es-
tablishment of a Dutch colony in those regions.
The diplomacy which ensued led to no decisive re-
In the year 1623, the Dutch sent a ship, under
captain May, and established a small colony upon
the eastern banks of the Delaware, about fifty miles
from its mouth. The settlement, which consisted of
about thirty families, was in the vicinity of the pres-
ent town of Gloucester. A fortress was erected,
called Fort Nassau. This was the first European
settlement upon the Delaware, which stream was
then called Prince Hendrick's, or South River.
"Another fortified post, called Fort Orange, was es-
tablished upon the western banks of the Hudsou
6o PETER STUYVESANT.
River about thirty-six miles from the island of Man*
Very slowly the tide of emigration began to flow
towards the Hudson. A few families settled on
Staten Island. Not pleased with their isolated lo-
cation, they soon removed to the northern shore of
Long Island, and reared their log cabins upon the
banks of a beautiful bay, which they called Wahle-
Bocht, or " the Bay of the Foreigners." The name
has since been corrupted into Wallabout. The
western extremity of Long Island was then called
Breukelen, which has since been Anglicised into
The government of these feeble communities
was committed to a Governor, called Director, and a
Council of five men. One of the first Governors was
Peter Minuit, who was appointed in the year 1624.
The English still claimed the territory which the
Dutch were so quietly and efficiently settling. In
the year 1626, the Dutch decided to make a per-
manent settlement upon Manhattan island, which was
then estimated to contain about twenty-two thou-
sand acres of land. The island was purchased of the
natives for twenty-four dollars. It was all that, at
that time, the savage wilderness was worth. In
that year the export of furs amounted to nineteer
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 6l
The colony soon numbered about two hundred
persons. The village consisted of thirty log houses,
extending along the banks of the East River. These
cabins were one story high, with thatched roof, wood-
en chimneys, and two rooms on the floor. Barrels,
placed on an end, furnished the tables. The chairs
were logs of wood. Undoubtedly in many of these
humble homes more true happiness was found than
is now experienced in some of the palatial mansions
which grace the goigeous avenues of the city.
About this time three ships arrived, containing a
large number of families with farming implements,
and over a hundred head of cattle. To prevent the
cattle from being lost in the woods, they were pas-
tured on Governor's, then called Nutten's Island.
And now the tide of emigration began pretty
rapidly to increase. The Dutch transported emi-
grants for twelve and a half cents a day, during the
voyage, for both passage and food. They also gave
them, upon reaching the colony, as much land as
they were able to cultivate. With a wise toleration,
which greatly honored them, the fullest religious
freedom of speech and worship was allowed.
A strong block-house, surrounded with palisades
of red cedar, was thrown up on the south point of
Manhattan Island, and was called Fort Amsterdam.
This became the headquarters of the government
62 PETER STUYVESANT.
and the capital of the extended, though not very
clearly defined, realm of New Netherland.
An unfortunate occurrence now took place which
eventually involved the colony in serious trouble.
An Indian, from the vicinity of Westchester, came
with his nephew, a small boy, bringing some beaver
skins to barter with the Dutch at the fort. The
narrow trail through the forest, Ifd in a southeast
direction, along the shore of the East River, till it
reached what was called Kip's Bay. Then, diverging
to the west, it passed near the pond of fresh water,
which was about half way between what are now
Broadway and Chatham streets. This pond, for a cen-
tury or more, was known as the Kolck or the Col-
When the Indians reached this point, they were
waylaid by three white men, robbed cf their furs,
and the elder one was murdered. The boy made
his escape and returned to his wilderness home, vow-
ing to revenge the murder of his uncle. It does not
appear that the Dutch authorities were informed of
this murder. They certainly did not punish the
murderers, nor make any attempt to expiate the
crime, by presents to the Indians.
" The island of Manhattan," wrote De Rassieres
at this time, " is full of trees and in the middle rocky.
On the north side there is good land in two places.
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 63
where two farmers, each with four horses, would
have enough to do without much grubbing or clear-
ing at first. The grass is good in the forests and
valleys ; but when made into hay, it is not so nutri-
tious for the cattle as the hay in Holland, in conse-
quence of its wild state, yet it annually improves by
"On the east side there rises a large level field,
of about one hundred and sixty acres, through
which runs a very fine fresh stream ; so that land
can be ploughed without much clearing. It appears
to be good. The six farms, four of which lie along
the river Hell-gate, stretching to the south side of
the island, have at least one hundred and twenty
acres to be sown with winter seed, which, at the
most, may have been ploughed eight times."
There were eighteen families at Fort Orange,
which was situated on Tawalsoutha creek, on the
west side of the Hudson river, about thirty-six
Dutch miles above the island of Manhattan. These
colonists built themselves huts of bark, and lived on
terms of cordial friendship with the Indians. Was-
senaar writes, " The Indians were as quiet as lambs,
and came and traded with all the freedom imagin-
The Puritans had now been five years at Ply-
mouth. So Uttle were they acquainted with the
64 PETER STUYVESANT.
geography cf the country that they supposed New
England to be an island.* Floating rumors had
reached them of the Dutch colony at the mouth of
the Hudson. Governor Bradford commissioned Mr.
Winslovv to visit the Dutch, who had sent a ship
to Narragansett bay to trade, that he might dis-
suade them frorh encroaching in their trade upon ter-
ritory which the Puritans considered as exclusively
belonging to them. Mr. Winslow failed to meet the
Dutch before their vessel had sailed on its return to
Soon after this the Dutch Governor, Peter
Minuit, sent secretary De Rassieres to Governor
Bradford, with a very friendly letter, congratulating
the Plymouth colony upon its prosperity, inviting to
commercial relations, and offering to supply their
English neighbors with any commodities which they
Governor Bradford, in his reply, very cordially
reciprocated these friendly greetings. Gracefully he
alluded to the hospitality with which the exiled Pil-
grims had been received in Holland. " Many of
us," he wrote, " are tied by the good and courteous
entreaty which we have found in your country,
having lived there many years with freedom and
good content, as many of our friends do this day;
♦ Winslow in Young (p. 371).
COMMENXEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 6$
for which we are bound to be thankful, and our
children after us, and shall never forget the same."
At the same time he claimed that the territory,
north of forty degrees of latitude, which included a
large part of New Netherland, and all their Hudson
river possessions, belonged to the English. Still he
promised that, for the sake of good neighborhood,
the English would not molest the Dutch at the
mouth of the Hudson, if they would " forbear to
trade with the natives in this bay and river of Nar-
ragansett and Sowames, which is, as it were, at our
The authorities at Fort Amsterdam could not,
for a moment, admit this claim of English supremacy
over New Netherland. Director Minuit returned
an answer, remarkable for its courteous tone, but in
which he firmly maintained the right of the Dutch
to trade with the Narragansetts as they had done
for years, adding " As the English claim authority
under the king of England, so we derive ours from
the States of Holland, and we shall defend it."
Governor Bradford sent this correspondence to
England. In an accompanying document he said,
"the Dutch, for strength of men and fortification,
far exceed us in all this land. They have used trad-
ing here for six or seven and twenty years ; but
have begun to plant of later time ; and now have re-
66 PETER STUYVESANT.
duced their trade to some order, and confined it
only to their company, which, heretofore, was spoil-
ed by their seamen and interlopers, as ours is, this
year most notoriously. Besides spoiling our trade,
the Dutch continue to sell muskets, powder and shot
to the Indians, which will be the overthrow of all, if
it be not looked into."
Director Minuit must have possessed some very
noble traits of character. After waiting three
months to receive a reply to his last communication,
he sent another letter, reiterating the most friendly
sentiments, and urging that an authorized agent
should be sent from Plymouth to New Amsterdam,
to confer " by word of mouth, touching our mutual
commerce and trading." He stated, moreover, that
if it were inconvenient for Governor Bradford to
send such an agent, they would depute one to Ply-
mouth themselves. In further token of kindness, he
sent to the Plymouth Governor, " a rundlet of sugar
and two Holland cheeses."
It is truly refreshing to witness the fraternal
spirit manifested on this occasion. How many of
the woes of this world might have been averted
had the brotherhood of man been thus recognized
by the leaders of the nations !
A messenger was sent to Plymouth. He was
hospitably entertained, and returned to Fort Am-
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 67
sterdam with such testimonials of his reception as
induced Director Minuit to send a formal ambassa-
dor to Plymouth, entrusted with plenipotentiary
powers. Governor Bradford apologized for not
sending an ambassador to Fort Amsterdam, stating,
" one of our boats is abroad, and we have much busi-
ness at home." Director Minuit selected Isaac De
Rassieres, secretary of the province, " a man of fair
and genteel behavior," as his ambassador. This
movement was, to those infant colonies, an event of
as much importance as any of the more stately em-
bassies which have been interchanged between
The barque Nassau was fitted out, and manned
with a small band of soldiers, and some trumpeters.
It was the last of September, 1629, when earth and
sky were bathed in all the glories of New England
autumnal days. In De Rassieres' account of the
excursion, he writes :
" Sailing through Hell-gate, and along the shores
of Connecticut and Rhode Island, we arrived, early
the next month, off Frenchman's Point, at a small
river where those of New Plymouth have a house,
made of hewn oak planks, called Aptuxet ; where
they keep two men, winter and summer, in order to
maintain the trade and possession."
This Aptuxet was at the head of Buzzard's Ba>,
68 PETER STUYVESANT.
upon the site of the present village of Monumet, in
the town of Sandwich. Near by there was a creek,
penetrating the neck of Cape Cod, which approach-
ed another creek on the other side so near that, by
a portage of but about five miles, goods could be
As the Nassau came in sight of this lonely trad-
ing port suddenly the peals of the Dutch trumpets
awoke the echoes of the forest. It was the 4th of
October. A letter was immediately dispatched by
a fleet-footed Indian runner to Plymouth. A boat
was promptly sent to the head of the creek, called
Manoucusett, on the north side of the cape, and De
Rassieres, with his companions, having threaded the
Indian trail through the wilderness for five miles,
was received on board the Pilgrims' boat and con-
veyed to Plymouth, " honorably attended with the
noise of trumpeters." *
This meeting was a source of enjoyment to both
parties. The two nations of England and Holland
were in friendly alliance, and consequently this
interview, in the solitudes of the New World, of the
representatives of the two colonies, was mutually
Jigreeable. The Pilgrims, having many of them
for a long time resided in Holland, cherished memo-
ries of that country with feelings of strong affection
• Bradford in Prince, 248.
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 6g
and regarded the Hollanders almost as fellow-coan-
But again Governor Bradford asserted the right
of the English to the country claimed by the Dutch,
and even intimated that force might soon be
employed to vindicate the British pretentions. We
must admire the conduct of both parties in this
emergency. The Dutch, instead of retaliating with
threats and violence, sent a conciliatory memorial to
Charles I., then King of England. And Charles,
much to his credit, issued an order that all the Eng-
lish ports, whether in the kingdom or in the terri-
tories of the British king, should be thrown open to
the Dutch vessels, trading to or from New Nether-
The management of the affairs of the Dutch
Colony was entrusted to a body of merchants called
the West India Company. In the year 1629, this
energetic company purchased of the Indians the
exclusive title to a vast territory, extending north
from Cape Henlopen, on the south side of Delaware
Bay, two miles in breadth and running thirty-two
The reader of the record of these days, often
meets with the word Patroon, without perhaps having
any very distinct idea of its significance. In order
to encourage emigration and the establishment of
70 PETER STUYVESANT.
colonies, the authorities in Holland issued a charter,
conferring large extents of land and exclusive privi-
leges, upon such members of the West India
Company as might undertake to settle any colony
in New Netherland.
" All such," it was proclaimed in this charter,
"shall be acknowledged Patroons oi New Nether-
land, who shall, within the space of four years, under-
take to plant a colony there of fifty souls upwards
of fifteen years of age. The Patroons, by virtue of
their power, shall be permitted, at such places as
they shall settle their colonies, to extend their
limits four miles* along the shore, and so far into
the country as the situation of the occupiers will
admit.'' The patroons, thus in possession of territory
equal to many of the dukedoms and principalities
of Europe, were invested with the authority which
had been exercised in Europe by the old feudal
lords. They could settle all disputes, in civil cases,
between man and man. They could appoint local
officers and magistrates, erect courts, and punish all
crimes committed within their limits, being even
authorized to inflict death upon the gallows. They
could purchase any am'junt of unappropriated lands
from the Indians.
One of these patroons, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer,
* Dutch miles, equal to sixteen English miles.
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. Jl
a wealthy merchant in Holland, who had been accus-
tomed to polish pearls and diamonds, became, as
patroon, possessed of nearly the whole of the pres-
ent counties of Albany and Rensselaer, in the State
(if New York, embracing the vast area of one thou-
sand one hundred and forty-one square miles. Soon
all the important points on the Hudson River and
the Delaware were thus caught up by these patroons,
wealthy merchants of the West India Company.
When the news of these transactions reached
Holland, great dissatisfaction was felt by the less
fortunate shareholders, that individuals had grasped
such a vast extent of territory. It was supposed
that Director Minuit was too much in sympathy
with the patroons, who were becoming very power-
ful, and he was recalled. All were compelled to
admit that during his administration the condition
of the colony had been prosperous. The whole of
Manhattan Island had been honestly purchased of
the Indians. Industry had flourished. Friendly
relations were everywhere maintained with the
natives. The northwestern shores of Long Island
were sttadded with the log cottages of the settlers.
During his directorship the exports of the colony
had trebled, amounting, in the year 1632, to nearly
fifty thousand dollars.
We come now to a scene of war, blood and woe,
72 PETER STKYVESANT.
for which the Dutch were not at all accountable.
It will be remembered that a colony had been es-
tablished near the mouth of Delaware Bay. Two
vessels were dispatched from Holland for this point
containing a number of emigrants, a large stock of
cattle, and whaling equipments, as whales abounded
in the bay. The ship, called the Walvis, arrived
upon the coast in April, 163 1. Running along the
western shore of this beautiful sheet of water, they
came to a fine navigable stream, which was called
Horekill, abounding with picturesque islands, with
a soil of exuberant fertility, and where the waters
were filled with fishes and very fine oysters. There
was here also a roadstead unequalled in the whole
bay for convenience and safety.
Here the emigrants built a fort and surrounded
it with palisades, and a thriving Dutch colony of
about thirty souls was planted. They formally
named the place, which was near the present town
of Lewiston, Swaanendael. A pillar was raised,
surmounted by a plate of glittering tin, upon which
was emblazoned the arms of Holland ; and which
also announced that the Dutch claimed the territory
by the title of discovety, purchase and occupation.
For a while the affairs of this colony went on very
prosperously. But in May, 1632, an expedition,
consisting of two ships, was fitted out from Holland.
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 73
with additional emigrants and supplies. Just before
the vessels left the Texel, a ship from Manhattan
brought the melancholy intelligence to Amsterdani
that the colony at Swaanendael had been destroyed
by the savages, thirty-two men having been killed
outside of the fort working in the fields. Still
DeVrees, who commanded the expedition, hoping
that the report was exaggerated, and that the col-
ony might still live, in sadness and disappointment
proceeded on his way. One of his vessels ran upon
the sands off Dunkirk, causing a delay of two months.
It was not until the end of December that the ves-
sels cast anchor off Swaanendael. No boat from the
shore approached ; no signs of life met the eye. The
next morning a boat, thorouglJy armed, was sent
into the creek on an exploring tour.
Upon reaching the spot where the fort had been
erected they found the building and palisades burned,
and the ground strewn with the bones of their mur-
dered countrymen, intermingled willi the remains of
cattle. The silence and solitude of the tombs
brooded over the devastated region. Not even a
savage was to be seen. As the bo?t returned with
these melancholy tidings, DeVrees cpused a heavy
cannon to be fired, hoping that its thunders, -ever-
berating over the bay, and echoing through J^^hc trails
of the wilderness, might reach the ear of «pmff
74 PETER STUYVESANT.
friendly Indian, from whom he could learn the de
tails of the disaster.
The next morning a smoke was seen curling up
from the forest near the ruins. The boat was again
sent into the creek, and two or three Indians were
seen cautiously prowling about. But mutual dis-
trust stood in the way of any intercourse. The
Dutch were as apprehensive of ambuscades and the
arrows of the Indians, as were the savages of the
bullets of the formidable strangers.
Some of the savages at length ventured to come
down to the shore, off which the open boat floated,
beyond the reach of arrows. Lured by friendly
signs, one of the Indians soon became emboldened
to venture on board. He was treated with great
kindness, and succeeded in communicating the fol-
lowing, undoubtedly true, account of the destruc-
tion of the colony :
One of the chiefs, seeing the glittering tin plate,
emblazoned with the arms of Holland, so conspicu-
ously exposed upon the column, apparently without
any consciousness that he was doing anything wrong,
openly, without any attempt at secrecy, took it
down and quite skilfully manufactured it into to-
bacco pipes. The commander of the fort, a man by
the name of Hossett, complained so bitterly of this,
as an outrage that must not pass unavenged, that
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONIZATION. 75
some of the friendly Indians, to win his favor, killed
the chief, and brought to Hossett his head, or some
other decisive evidence that the deed was done.
The commandant was shocked at this severity of
retribution, so far exceeding anything which he had
desired, and told the savages that they had done
very wrong ; that they should only have arrested
the chief and brought him to the fort. The com-
mandant would simply have reprimanded him and
forbidden him to repeat the offence.
The ignorant Indians of the tribe, whose chief
had thus summarily, and, as they felt, unjustly been
put to death, had all their savage instincts roused
to intensity. They regarded the strangers at the
fort as instigating the deed and responsible for it.
They resolved upon bloody vengeance.
A party of warriors, thoroughly armed, came
stealing through the glades of the forest and ap-
proached the unsuspecting fort. All the men were
at work in the fields excepting one, who was left
sick at home. There was also chained up in the
fort, a powerful and faithful mastiff, of whom the In-
dians stood in great dread. Three of the savages,
concealing, as far as they could, their weapons, ap-
proached the fort, under the pretence of bartering
some beaver skins. They met Hossett, the com-
mander, not far from the door. He entered the
76 PETER STUYVESANT.
house with them, not having the slightest suspicion
of their hostile intent. He ascended some steep
stairs into the attic, where the stores for trade were
deposited, and as he was coming down, one of the
Indians, watching his opportunity, struck him dead
v.'ith an axe. They then killed the sick man.
Standing at a cautious distance, they shot twenty-
five arrows into the chained mastiff till he sank mo-
tionless in death.
The colonists in the field, in the meantime, were
entirely unaware of the awful scenes which were
transpiring, and of their own impending peril. The
wily Indians approached them, under the guise of
friendship. Each party had its marked man. At a
given signal, with the utmost ferocity they fell upon
their victims. With arrows, tomahawks and war-
clubs, the work was soon completed. Not a man
The Administration of Van Twiller.
Fiiendljr Relations Restored. — Wouter Van Twiller New Direc-
tor. — Captain Elkins. — Remonstrance of De Vrees. — Claims fol
the Connecticut. — The Plymouth Expedition. — A Boat's Crew
Murdered. — Condition of the Colony in 1633. — Emigration to
the Connecticut. — Emigrants from Holland. — The Red Rocks. —
New Haven Colony Established. — Natural. — Indian Remon-
strance Against Taxation. — Outrage upon the Raritan Indians. —
De Vrees very wisely decided that it would be
but a barren vengeance to endeavor to retaliate
upon the roaming savages, when probably more suf-
fering would be inflicted upon the innocent than
upon the guilty. He therefore, to their astonish-
ment and great joy, entered into a formal treaty of
peace and alliance with them. Any attempt to bring
the offenders to justice would of course have been
unavailing, as they could easily scatter, far and wide,
through the trackless wilderness. Arrangements
were made for re-opening trade, and the Indians
with alacrity departed to hunt beaver.
A new Director was appointed at Manhattan,
Wouter Van Twiller. He was an inexperienced young
78 PETER STUYVESANT.
man, and owed his appointment to the powerful pa-
tronage he enjoyed from having married the niece
of the patroon Van Rensselaer. Thus a " raw Am-
sterdam clerk," embarked in a ship of twenty guns,
with a military force of one hundred and four sol-
diers, to assume the government of New Nether-
land. The main object of this mercantile governor
seemed to be to secure trade with the natives and
to send home furs.
De Vrees, having concluded his peace with the In-
dians, sailed up the South river, as they then called
the Delaware, through the floating ice, to a trading
post, which had been established some time before
at a point about four miles below the present site
of Philadelphia. He thought he saw indications of
treachery, and was constantly on his guard. He
found the post, which was called Fort Nassau, like
a similar post on the Hudson, deserted. The chiefs,
however, of nine different tribes, came on board,
bringing presents of beaver skins, avowing the most
friendly feelings, and they entered into a formal
treaty with the Dutch. There did not, however,
seem to be any encouragement again to attempt the
establishment of a colony, or of any trading posts
in that region. He therefore abandoned the Dela-
ware river, and for some time no further attempts
were made to colonize its coasts.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 79
In April, 1633, an English ship arrived at Man-
hattan. The bluff captain, Jacob Elkins, who had
formerly been in the Dutch employ, but had been
dismissed from their service, refused to recognize
the Dutch authorities, declaring that New Nether-
land was English territory, discovered by Hudson,
an Englishman. It was replied that though Hud-
son was an Englishman, he was in the service of the
East India Company at Amsterdam ; that no Eng-
lish colonists had ever settled in the region, and
that the river itself was named Mauritius river, after
the Prince of Orange.
Elkins was not to be thus dissuaded. He had
formerly spent four years at this post, and was thor-
oughly acquainted with the habits and language of
the Indians. His spirit was roused. He declared
that he would sail up the river if it cost him his life.
Van Twiller was equally firm in his refusal. He or-
dered the Dutch flag to be run up at fort Amster-
dam, and a salute to be fired in honor of the Prince
of Orange. Elkins, in retaliation, unfurled the Eng-
lish flag at his mast-head, and fired a salute in hon-
or of King Charles. After remaining a week at fort
Amsterdam, and being refused a license to ascend
the river, he defiantly spread his colors to the
breeze, weighed anchor, and boldly sailed up the
8o PETER STUYVESANT.
stream to fort Orange. This was the first British
vessel which ascended the North river.
The pusillanimous Van Twiller was in a great
rage, but had no decision of character to guide him
in such an emergency. The merchant clerk, invest-
ed with gubernatorial powers, found himself in wa-
ters quite beyond his depth. He collected all the
people of the fort, broached a cask of wine, and rail-
ed valiantly at the intrepid Englishman, whose ship
was fast disappearing beyond the palisades. His
conduct excited only the contempt and derision of
DeVrees was a man of very different fibre. He
had, but a few days before, entered the port from
Swaanendael. He dined with the Governor that
day, and said to him in very intelligible Dutch :
" You have committed a great folly. Had it
been my case, I would have helped the Englishman
to some eight pound iron beans, and have pre-
vented him from going up the river. The English
are of so haughty a nature that they think that
everything belongs to them. I would immediately
send a frigate after him, and drive him out of the
Stimulated by this advice. Van Twiller prepared,
as speedily as possible, three well armed vessels,
strongly manned with soldiers, and sent them, under
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 8l
an intrepid captain, in pursuit of the intruders.
They found the English ship, the William, about a
mile below fort Orange. A tent was pitched upon
the shore, where, for a fortnight, the English had
been pursuing a very lucrative traffic for furs. The
Dutch soldiers were in strength which Elkins could
They ordered him to strike his tent. He refused.
They did it for him ; reshipped all his goods which
he had transferred to the shore, to trade with the
Indians, and also the furs which he had purchased.
They then weighed the anchors of the William, un-
furled her sails, and, with trumpet blasts of victory,
brought the ship, captain and crew down to fort
Amsterdam. The ship was then convoyed to sea,
and the discomfited Elkins returned to London.
Thus terminated, in utter failure, the first attempt
of the English to enter into trade with the Indians
of New Netherland.
The Dutch were now the only Europeans who
had occupied any part of the present territory of
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
They were also carrying on a very flourishing trade
with the Indians on the Connecticut river, which
was then called Fresh river, and this " long before
any English had dreamed of going there." The
value of this traffic may be inferred from the fact
&2 PETER STUYVESANT.
that, in the year 1633, sixteen thousand beaver
skins were sent to Holland from the North river
To strengthen their title, thus far founded on
discovery and exclusive visitation, the Dutch, in
1632, purchased of the Indians nearly all of the
lands on both sides of the Connecticut river, includ-
ing Saybrook Point, at the mouth, where the arms
of the States-General were affixed to a tree in token
of possession. A fort was also comm.enced, near the
mouth of the river, and a trading post established
some miles up the stream, at the point now occupied
by the city of Hartford.
About the same time, Lord Warwick, assuming
that a legitimate grant of the region had been made
to him by the king of England, conveyed to Lords
Say, Brook and others, all the territory running
southwest from Narragansett river, to the distance
of one hundred and twenty miles along the coast,
and reaching back, through the whole breadth of
the country, from the Western Ocean to the South
Sea. The geography of these regions was then very
imperfectly known. No one had any conception of
the vast distance between the Atlantic Ocean and
the shores of the Pacific. The trading post, which
the Dutch had established on the Connecticut, was
called Fort Hope.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER, 83
As soon as it was known, at Plymouth and Bos-
ton, that the Dutch had taken formal possession of
the valley of the Connecticut, Governor Winslow
hastened to confer with the Massachusetts Gover-
nor respecting their duties. As it was doubtful
whether the region of the Connecticut was embraced
\frithin either of their patents, they decided not to
interfere. But through diplomatic policy Ihey as-
signed a different reason for their. refusal.
"In regard,'' said Governor Winthrop, " chat the
place was not fit for plantation, there being three or
four thousand warlike Indians, and the river not to
be gone into but by small pinnaces, having a bar
affording but six feet at high water, and for that no
vessel can get in for seven months in the jear, partly
by reason of the ice, and then the violent stream,
we thought not fit to meddle with it."*
Still Governor Winthrop looked wistfully towards
the Connecticut. Though he admitted that the
lower part of the valley was " out of the claim of
the Massaclmsetts patent," it could not be denied
that the upper part of the valley was included in
their grant. In the summer of 1633, John Oldham,
with three companions, penetrated the wilderness,
through the Indian trails, one hundred and sixty
miles to the Connecticut river. They were hospita^
* Morton's memorial, page 176.
84 PETER STUYVESANT.
bly entertained in the many Indian villages they
passed through by the way.
They brought back early in the autumn, glowing
accounts of the beauty of the region, and of the
luxuriant meadows which bordered the stream.
Governor Winthrop then sent a vessel on a trading
voyage, through Long Island Sound, to Manhattan,
there to inform the Dutch authorities that the king
of England had granted the Connecticut river and
the adjacent country to the subjects of Great Britain.
In most of these transactions the Dutch appear
to great advantage. After five weeks' absence the
vessel returned to Boston to report the friendly
reception of the Massachusetts party at Manhattan,
and bearing a courteous letter to Governor Win-
throp, in which Van Twiller, in respectful terms,
urged him to defer his claim to Connecticut until
the king of England and the States-General of
Holland should agree about their limits, so that the
colonists of both nations, might live "as good neigh-
bors in these heathenish countries." Director Van
Twiller added, with good sense, which does him
much credit :
" I have, in the name of the States-General and
the West India Company, taken possession of the
forementioned river, and, for testimony thereof, have
set up an house on the north side of the said river.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 85
It is not the intent of the States to take the land
from the poor natives, but rather to take it at some
reasonable price, which, God be praised, we have
done hitherto. In this part of the world there are
many heathen lands which are destitute of inhabi-
tants, so that there need not be any question respect-
ing a little part or portion thereof."
At the same time the Plymouth colony made a
move to obtain a foothold upon the Connecticut.
To secure the color of a title, the colony purchased
of a company of Indians who had been driven from
their homes by the all-victorious Pequods, a tract of
land just above fort Hope, embracing the territory
where the town of Windsor now stands. Lieuten-
ant Holmes was then dispatched with a chosen
company, in a vessel which conveyed the frame of a
small bouse carefully stowed away, and which could
be very expeditiously put together. He was di-
rected to push directly by fort Hope, and raise
and fortify his house upon -the purchased lands.
Governor Bradford, of Plymouth, gives the following
quaint account of this adventure :
" When they came up the river the Dutch
demanded what they intended, and whither they
would go ? They answered, ' up the river to trade.'
Now their order was to go and seat above them.
They bid them strike and stay or they would shoot
86 PETER STUYVESANT.
them, and stood by their ordnance ready fitted.
They answered, they had commission from the
Governor of Plymouth to go up the river to such a
place, and if they did shoot they must obey their
order and proceed ; they would not molest them but
go on. So they passed along. And though the
Dutch threatened them hard yet they shot not.
Coming to their place they clapped up their house
quickly, and landed their provisions, and left the
company appointed, and sent the bark home, and
afterward palisaded their house about, and fortified
Van Twiller, informed of this intrusion, sent a
commissioner, protesting against this conduct and
ordering Holmes to depart, with all his people.
Holmes replied, " I am here in the name of the
king of England, and here I shall remain."
Matters soon became seriously complicated. A
boat's crew was robbed and murdered by some vaga
bond Indians. The culprits were taken and hung
This exasperated against the Dutch the power-
ful Pequods who had the supremacy over all that
territory. Open war soon ensued. The Pequods
sent an embassy to Boston, and entered into a treaty
of alliance with the Massachusetts colony, in which
they surrendered to that colony the Connecticut
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 8/
In the meantime, Van Twiller having received
instructions from the home government, dispatched
a force of seventy well armed men to drive Lieuten-
ant Holmes and his men from their post. The Eng-
lish stood firmly upon their defence. The Dutch,
seeing that a bloody battle must ensue, with uncer-
tain results, withdrew without offering any violence.
In many respects the Dutch colonies continued to
enjoy much prosperity. Mr. Brodhead gives the
following interesting account of the state of affairs
at the mouth of the Hudson, in the year 1633 :
" Fort Amsterdam, which had become dilapi-
dated, was repaired, and a guard-house and a bar-
rack for the newly arrived soldiers were constructed
within the ramparts, at a cost of several thousand
" Three expensive windmills were also erected.
But they were injudiciously placed so near the fort
that the buildings, within its walls, frequently inter-
cepted and turned off the south wind.
" Several brick and frame houses were built for
the Director and his officers. On the Company's
farm, north of the fort, a dwelling-house, brewery,
boat-house and barn were erected. Other smaller
houses were built for the corporal, the smith, the
cooper. The loft, in which the people had wor^
shipped since 1626, was now replaced by a pliin
88 PETER STUYVESANT.
wooden building, like a barn, situated on the East
River, in what is now Broad street, between Pearl
and Bridge streets. Near this old church a dwelling-
house and stable were erected for the use of the
Domine. In the Fatherland the title of Domine
was familiarly given to clergymen. The phrase
crossed the Atlantic with Bogardus, and it has sur-
vived to the present day among the descendants of
the Dutch colonists of New Netherland."
The little settlement at Manhattan was entitled
to the feudal right of levying a tax upon all the
merchandise passing up or down the river. The
English were, at this time, so ignorant of this re-
gion of the North American coast that a sloop was
dispatched to Delaware Bay " to see if there were
any river there.'' As the Dutch had vacated the
Delaware, the English decided to attempt to ob-
tain a foothold on those waters. Accordingly, in
the year 1635, they sent a party of fourteen or
fifteen Englishmen, under George Holmes, to seize
the vacant Dutch fort.
Van Twiller, informed of this fact, with much
energy sent an armed vessel, by which the whole
company was arrested and brought to Manhattan,
whence they were sent, " pack and sack," to an
English settlement on the Chesapeake.
The Plymouth people had now been two years
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 8g
in undisturbed possession of their post at Windsor,
on the Connecticut. Stimulated by their example,
the General Court of Massachusetts encouraged
emigration to the Connecticut valley, urging, as a
consideration, their need of pasturage for their in-
creasing flocks and herds ; the great beauty and
fruitfulness of the Connecticut valley, and the dan-
ger that the Dutch, or other English colonies, might
get possession of it. "Like the banks of the Hud-
son," it was said, " the Connecticut had been first
explored and even occupied by the Dutch. But
should a log hut and a few straggling soldiers seal a
territory against other emigrants ? "*
Thus solicited, families from Watertown and
Roxbury commenced a settlement at Wethersfield
in the year 1635. Some emigrants, from Dorches-
ter, established themselves just below the colony of
the Plymouth people at Windsor. This led to a
stern remonstrance on the part of Governor Brad-
ford, of Plymouth, denouncing their unrighteous in-
trusion. " Thus the Plymouth colonists on the Con-
necticut, themselves intruders within the territory
of New Netherland, soon began to quarrel with
their Massachusetts brethren for trespassing upon
their usurped domain."
In November of this year, Governor Winthrop
• Hist, of New York, by John Rouieyn Brodhead. Vol. I, p 21,7.
go PETER STUYVESANT.
dispatched a bark of twenty tons from Boston, with
about twenty armed men, to take possession of the
mouth of the Connecticut. It will be remembered
that the Dutch had purchased this land of the In-
dians three years before, and, in token of their pos-
session, had affixed the arms of the States-General
to a tree. The English contemptuously tore down
these arms, "and engraved a ridiculous face in their
The Dutch had called this region, Kievit's
Hook. The English named it Saybrook, in honor
of lords Say and Brook, who were regarded as the
leading English proprietors. Early the next year the
Massachusetts people established a colony at Aga-
wam, now Springfield. Thus, step by step, the Eng-
lish encroached upon the Dutch, until nearly the
whole valley of the Connecticut was wrested from
About this time Van Twiller issued a grant of
sixty-two acres of land, a little northwest of fort
Amsterdam, to Roelof Jansen. This was the origi
nal conveyance of the now almost priceless estate,
held by the corporation of Trinity Church. The di-
rectors, in Holland, encouraged emigration by all
the means in their power. Free passage was offer-
ed to farmers and their families. They were also
promised the lease of a farm, fit for the plough, for
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 9I
six years, with a dwelling house, a barn, four horses
and four cows. They were to pay a rent for these
six years, of forty dollars a year, and eighty pounds
At the expiration of the six years the tenants
were to restore the number of cattle they had re-
ceived, retaining the increase. They were also as-
sisted with clothing, provisions, etc., on credit, at an
advance of fifty per cent. But notwithstanding
the rapid increase of the Dutch settlements, thus
secured, the English settlements were increasing
with still greater rapidity. Not satisfied with their
encroachments on the Connecticut, the English
looked wistfully upon the fertile lands extending
between that stream and the Hudson.
The region about New Haven, which, from the
East and West rocks, was called the Red Rocks, at-
tracted especial attention. Some men from Bos-
ton, who had visited it, greatly extolled the beauty
and fertility of the region, declaring it to be far
superior to Massachusetts Bay. " The Dutch will
seize it," they wrote, " if we do not. And it is too
good for any but friends."
Just then an English non-conformist clergyman,
John Davenport, and two merchants from London,
men of property and high religious worth, arrived
at Boston. They sailed to the Red Rocks, purcha*
92 PETER STUYVESANT.
ed a large territory of the Indians, and regardless of
the Dutch title, under the shadow of a great oak,
laid the foundations of New Haven. The colony
was very prosperous, and, in one year's time, num-
bered over one hundred souls.
And now the English made vigorous efforts to
gain all the lands as far west as the Hudson river.
A village of fifty log huts soon rose at Stratford,
near the Housatonic. Enterprising emigrants also
pushed forward as far as Norwalk, Stamford and
Greenwich. The colony at Saybrook consisted in
1640, of a hundred houses, and a fine church. The
Dutch now held, in the Connecticut valley, only the
flat lands around fort Hope. And even these the
English began to plough up. They cudgelled those
of the Dutch garrison who opposed them, say-
ing, " It would be a sin to leave uncultivated so
valuable a land which can produce such excellent
The English now laid claim to the whole of Long
Island, and commenced a settlement at its eastern
extremity. In the meantime very bitter complaints
were sent to Holland respecting the incapacity of
the Director Van Twiller. It was said that he, neg-
lecting the affairs of the colony, was directing all
his energies to enriching himself. He had become,
it was reported, the richest landholder in the prov-
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 93
ince. Though sustained by very powerful friends, he
William Kieft was appointed in his stead, the
fifth Director. He was a man of very unenviable
reputation, and his administration was far from
successful. Mr. Brodhead gives the following true
and very interesting account of the abundant natu-
ral resources of the Dutch settlements on the
Hudson at this time:
" The colonists lived amid nature's richest profu-
sion. In the forests, by the water side, and on the
islands, grew a rank abundance of nuts and plums.
The hills were covered with thickets of blackberries.
On the flat lands, near the rivers, wild strawberries
came up so plentifully that the people went there
to lie down and eat them. Vines, covered with
grapes as good and sweet as in Holland, clambered
over the loftiest trees. Deer abounded in the
forests, in harvest time and autumn, as fat as any
Holland deer can be. Enormous wild turkeys and
myriads of partridges, pheasants and pigeons roosted
in the neighboring woods. Sonrietimes the turkeys
and deer came down to the houses of the colonists
to feed. A stag was frequently sold by the Indians
for a loaf of bread, or a knife, or even for a tobacco
pipe. The river produced the finest fish. There
was a great plenty of sturgeon, which, at that tiniq
^4 PETER STUYVESANT.
the christians did not make use of, but the Indians
ate them greedily. Flax and hemp grew sponta-
neously. Peltries and hides were brought in great
quantities, by the savages, and sold for trifles. The
land was very well provisioned with all the necessa-
ries of life."*
Thus far, as a general rule, friendly relations had
existed between the Dutch and the Indians. But
all sorts of characters were now emigrating from the
old world. The Indians were often defrauded, or
treated harshly. Individuals among the natives
retaliated by stealing. When caught they were
severely punished. Notwithstanding the govern-
ment prohibited the sale of muskets to the Indians,
so eager were the savages to gain these weapons, so
invaluable to them on their hunting-fields, that they
would offer almost any price for them. Thus the
Mohawks ere long obtained " guns, powder and
bullets for four hundred warriors."
Kieft endeavored to tax the Indians, extorting
payment in corn and furs. This exasperated them.
Their reply, through one of their chiefs, would have
lione honor to any deliberative assembly. Indig-
nantly the chief exclaimed :
" How can the sachem at the fort dare to exact
a tax from us 1 He must be a very shabby fellow
* History of the State of New York, p. 203.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILXER. g$
He has come to li^-e in our land when we have not
invited him ; and now he attempts to deprive us of
our corn for nothing. The soldiers at fort Amster-
dam are no protection to us. Why should we be
called upon to support them ? We have allowed the
Dutch to live peaceably in our country, and have
never demanded of them any recompense. When
they lost a ship here, and built a new one, we sup-
plied them with food and all other necessaries.
We took care of them for two winters until their
ship was finished. The Dutch are under obligations
lo us. We have paid full price for everything we.
have purchased of them. There is, therefore, no
reason why we should supply them with corn and
furs for nothing. If we have ceded to them the
country they are living in, we yet remain masters
of what we have retained for ourselves."
This unanswerable argument covered the whole
ground. The most illiterate Indian could feel the
force of such logic.
Some European vagabonds, as it was afterwards
clearly proved, stole some swine from Staten Island.
The blame was thrown upon the innocent Raritan
Indians, who lived twenty miles inland. The rash
Director Kieft resolved to punish them with severi
ty which should be a warning to all the Indians.
He sent to this innocent, unsuspecting tribe, a
96 PETER STUYVESANT.
party of seventywell armed men, many of them un-
principled desperadoes. They fell upon the peace-
ful Indians, brutally killed several, destroyed their
crops, and perpetrated all sorts of outrages.
The Indians never forget a wrong. The spirit of
revenge burned in their bosoms. There was a thriv-
ing plantation belonging to DeVrees on Staten Isl-
and. The Indians attacked it, killed four of the
la':orers, burned the dwelling and destroyed the
crops. Kieft, in his blind rage, resolved upon the
extermination of the Raritans. He offered a large
bounty for the head of any member of that tribe.
It will be remembered that some years before an
Indian had been robbed and murdered near the
pond, in the vicinity of the fort at Manhattan, and
that his nephew, a boy, had escaped. That boy was
now a man, and, through all these years, with almost
religious scrupulousness, had been cherishing his
sense of duty to avenge his uncle's unatoned death.
A very harmless Dutchman, by the name of
Claes Smits, had reared his solitary hut upon the
Indian trail near the East river. The nephew of
the murdered savage came one day to this humble
dwelling, and stopped under the pretence of selling
some beaver skins. As Smits was stooping over the
great chest in which he kept his goods, the savage,
seizing an axe, killed him by a single blow. In do
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAX T\YILLER. 97
ing this, he probably felt the joys of an approving
conscience, — a conscience all uninstructed in relig-
ious truth — and thanked the great spirit that he had
at length been enabled to discharge his duty in
avenging his uncle's death.
Kieft sent to the chief of the tribe, demanding
the murderer. The culprit Indian sent back the re-
" When the fort was building some years ago,
my uncle and I, carrying some beaver skins to the
fort to trade, were attacked by some Dutchmen, who
killed my uncle and stole the furs. This happened
when I was a small boy. I vowed to revenge it
upon the Dutch when I grew up. I saw no better
chance than this of Claes Smits."
The sachem refused to deliver up the criminal,
saying that he had but done his duty, according to
the custom of his race, in avenging the death of his
kirisman, murdered many years before. Kieft was
exceedingly embarrassed. He was very unpopular ;
was getting the colony deeper and deeper into dififi-
culty, and was accused of seeking war with the In-
dians that he " might make a wrong reckoning with
In this emergency, that others might share the
responsibility with him, he reluctantly sought the
counsel of the community. Twelve " select men '
98 PETER STUYVESANT.
were chosen to consider the propositions to be sub-
mitted to them by the Director. To them the ques-
tion was propounded :
" Is it not just, that the murder lately committed
by a savage, upon Claes Smits, be avenged and pun-
ished ? In case the Indians will not surrender the
murderer, is it not just to destroy the whole village
to which he belongs ? In what manner, when, and
by whom ought this to be executed?"
The result of their deliberations was, in brief, as
follows : " Our harvest is still ungathered ; our cat-
tle are scattered in the woods. Many of the inhabi-
tants, unsuspicious of danger, are at a distance. It
is not best to precipitate hostilities. In the mean-
time let two hundred coats of mail be procured in
preparation for the expedition. Let our friendly in-
tercourse with the savages be uninterrupted, to
throw them off their guard. When the hunting sea-
son commences, let two armed bands be sent out to
attack the Indians from opposite directions. Let as
many negroes as can be spared, be sent on this ex-
pedition, each armed with tomahawk and half-pike.
Still let messengers be sent once, twice and even a
third time to solicit the surrender of the murderer."
The Governor had the reputation of being an
arrant coward. It had often been said, " It is very
well for him to send us into the field, while he se-
THE ADMINISTRATION OF VAN TWILLER. 99
cures his. own life in a good fort, out of which he
has not slept a single night in all the years he has
been here." They therefore shrewdly added, " The
Governor himself ought to lead the van in this at-
tack. We will follow his steps and obey his com-
The hunting season soon came. Still it was de-
cided to delay hostilities. The savages were on
their guard. A very general feeling of unfriendli-
ness pervaded the tribes. The Dutch settlers were
widely scattered. A combination of the Indians
against the colonists might prove an awful calamity.
Thus, for a time, the war which was evidently ap-
proaching was averted.
War and Its Devastations.
Approaching Hostilities. — Noble Remonstrance. — Massacre of tlie
Natives. — The War Storm. — Noble conduct of DeVrees. — The
Humiliation of Kieft. — Wide-Spread Desolation. — The Reign
of Terror. — State of Affairs at Fort Nassau. — The Massacre at
Stamford. — Memorial of the Select Men. — Kieft Superseded by
The year 5643 was a year of terror and of blood
in nearly all of the American colonies. New Eng-
land was filled with alarm in the apprehension of a
general rising of the Indians. It was said that a
benighted traveller could not halloo in the woods
without causing fear that the savages were torturing
their European captives. This universal panic per-
vaded the Dutch settlements. The wildest stories
were circulated at the firesides of the lonely settlers.
Anxiety and terror pervaded all the defenceless
DeVrees, rambling one day with his gun upon
his shoulder, met an Indian " who was very drunk."
Coming up to the patroon, the Indian patted him
upon the shoulder, in token of friendship, saying,
"You are a good chief. When we come to see
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. lOl
you, you give us milk to drink. I have just come
from Hackensack where they sold me brandy, and
then stole my beaver skin coat. I will take a
bloody revenge. I will go home for my bow and
arrows, and shoot one of those rascally Dutchmen
who have stolen my coat."
DeVrees endeavored in vain to soothe him
He had hardly reached his home ere he heard that
the savage had kept his vow. He had shot and
killed an innocent man, one Garret Van Voorst, who
was thatching the roof of a house. The chiefs of
the tribe were terror-stricken, through fear of the
white man's vengeance. They did not dare to go
to the fort lest they should be arrested and held as
hostages. But they hastened to an interview with
DeVrees, in whom they had confidence, and express-
ed a readiness to make atonement for the crime, in
accordance with the custom of their tribe, by paying
a large sum to the widow of the murdered man.
It is worthy of notice that this custom, so uni-
versal among the Indians, of a blood atonement of
money, was also the usage of the tribes of Greece
We read in Homer's Iliad, as translated by Pope,
" If a brother bleed.
On just atonement we remit the deed ;
A sire the slaughter of his sons forgives,
The price of blood discharged, the murderer liTcs."
102 PETER STUYVESANT.
At length, encouraged by DeVrees and accom-
panied by him, the chiefs ventured to fort Amster-
dam. They explained to Kieft the occurrence, and
proposed the expiatory offering to appease the wid-
ow's grief. Kieft was inexorable. Nothing but the
blood of the criminal would satisfy him. In vain
they represented that he was the son of a beloved
chief, and that already he had fled far away to some
distant tribe. Our sympathy for these men is
strongly excited as we read their sorrowful yet no-
ble remonstrance :
" Why," said they, " will you sell brandy to our
young men ? They are not used to it. It makes
them crazy. Even your own people, who are ac-
customed to strong liquors, sometimes become
drunk and fight with knives. Sell no more strong
drink to the Indians, if you will avoid such mis-
While this question was being agitated, the Mo-
hawks from the upper part of the Hudson, came
down in strong military bands, armed with mus-
kets, upon the lower river tribes, attacked them
with great ferocity, killed quite a number of their
warriors, took the women and children captive, and
destroyed their villages.
The lower river tribes all trembled before the
terrible Iroquois. Large numbers of these subjuga-
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. 103
ted tribes fled from the river banks, and from the
region of Westchester, to Manhattan and to Pavo-
nia, where Jersey City now stands. Here, stripped
and panic-stricken, they encamped, " full a thousand
The humane and judicious patroon, DeVrees,
in whom the Indians seem to have reposed great
confidence, had a beautiful estate several miles up
the river, at a place called Vreesendael. It was a
delightful spot of about five hundred fertile acres,
through which wound a fine stream affording hand-
some mill seats. The meadows yielded hay enough
spontaneously for two hundred head of cattle.
DeVrees, finding his house full of fugitive sav-
ages, on their retreat to Pavonia, at the mouth of
the river, paddled down in a canoe through the
floating ice to fort Amsterdam, to confer with Direc-
tor Kieft upon the emergency. He urged upon
the Director that these poor Indians, thus escaping
from the terrible Iroquois and grateful for the pro-
tection which the Dutch had not denied them, might
easily be won to a sincere friendship. On the other
hand, some of the more fiery spirits in the colony
thought that the occasion furnished them with an
opportunity so to cripple the Indians as to render
them forever after powerless. They sent in a pe-
tition to Kieft, saying,
104 PETER STUYVESANT.
" We entreat that immediate hostile measures
may be directed against the savages. They have
not yet dehvered up the assassins of Smits and Van
Voorst, and thus these murders remain unavenged.
The national character of the Dutch must suffer.
God has now delivered our enemies into our hands.
Let us attack them. We offer our services, and urge
that united parties of soldiers and civilians assail
them at several points."
These views were in entire harmony with the
wishes of the sanguinary Kieft. He was delighted
with the prospect of a war in which victory seemed
easy and certain. Disregarding the remonstrances
of DeVrees, and of the christian minister Bogardus,
he made efficient preparation for the slaughter of
the helpless savages.
He sent his secretary and a military officer across
the river to reconnoitre the position of the Indians.
There were two bands of these trembling fugitives,
one at Pavonia, on the Jersey side of the river, and
one at Corlaer's Hook, on the Island of Manhattan,
just above fort Amsterdam. Secretly, at midnight
o'' the 25th of February, 1643, the armed bands ad-
vanced against their unsuspecting victims. They
were sleeping in fancied security when the murder-
ous assault commenced.
" The noise of muskets," writes Brodhead, " min
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. I05
gled with the shrieks of the terrified Indians. Nei-
ther age nor sex were spared. Warrior and squaw,
sachem and child, mother and babe, were alike mas-
sacred. Daybreak scarcely ended the furious slaugh-
ter. Mangled victims, seeking safety in the thickets,
were driven into the river. Parents, rushing to save
their children whom the soldiers had thrown into
the stream, were driven back into the waters and
drowned before the eyes of their unrelenting mur-
" I sat up that night," writes DcVrees, " by the
kitchen fire at the Directors. About midnight,
hearing loud shrieks, I ran up to the ramparts of the
fort. Looking towards Pavonia, I saw nothing but
shooting, and heard nothing but the shrieks of In-
dians murdered in their sleep.''
With the dawn of the morning the victorious
Dutch returned from their scene of slaughter, bear-
ing with them about thirty prisoners, and the heads
instead of the scalps of many warriors. Kieft wel-
comed these blood-stained men with " shaking of
hands and congratulations." The tidings of this
outrage spread far and wide among the Indian
tribes in the valley of the Hudson and on the Long
I Island shore.
Private enterprise, relying upon the protection
of Kieft, had sent out a foraging expedition upon
I06 PETER STUYVESANT.
Long Island. Kieft assumed that he saw signs
of hDstility there. The unsuspecting savages were
plundered of two wagon loads of grain. These
Indians, who had thus far been the warmest friends
of the Dutch, were now justly roused to the highest
pitch of indignation. They immediately made com-
mon cause with the river tribes, who were almost
frenzied with the desire to avenge the midnight
massacres of Pavonia and Manhattan. The storm
which thus burst upon New Netherland was sudden
and awful. The savages, in their rage, developed
energy and power totally unanticipated.
Eleven tribes combined in the most furious
and merciless attacks upon the lonely farm-houses.
Everywhere the war-whoop resounded, and the
plumed and painted savages emerged from swamps
and thickets, and assailed every unprotected dwell-
ing. The farmer was shot in the field, his dwelling
burned, and his wife and children were thrown into
the flames. Many women and children, their lives
being spared, were carried into captivity worse than
death. Houses, haystacks and granaries were fired.
Cattle were slain or driven off, and crops destroyed.
Terror held high carnival. From the banks of
the Raritan to the valley of the Hous.itonic, over a
region of hundreds of square miles, not a plantation
was safe. Men, women and children, haggard with
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. I07
hunger, exposure and woe, fled from their deserted
homes to fort Amsterdam. Despairing of ever again
finding peaceful residence in this new world, with
one voice they demanded a return to the fatherland.
The Dutch colonies were threatened with immediate
and entire depopulation.
Kieft himself was terrified in view of the fright-
ful storm he had raised. He was compelled to enlist
every able-bodied man as a soldier. There was an
end to all traffic, to all agriculture, to all the arts of
industry. Even the plantation of the humane De-
Vrees did not escape the undiscriminating wrath ol
the savages. The outhouses, cattle and crops were
utterly destroyed. Quite a number of the terrified
colonists had taken refuge in the manor house which
DeVrees had prudently built very strong, and con-
structed with loopholes for musketry.
The Indians were besieging the place, when one
of their tribe came, whom DeVrees had assisted
to escape from the massacre at Manhattan. He
told the story of his escape and said that DeVrees
was a good chief whom they ought to respect.
The Indians held a short consultation, and then the
grateful savages deputed one of their number to
advance within speaking distance of the manor
house. This man, whom we call a savage, cried
I08 PETER STUYVESANT.
" We are very sorry that we have destroyed the
outhouses, the cattle and the crops. We now know
that chief DeVrees is a good chief and our friend.
If we had not destroyed his property we would not
do so. We will not harm the brewery, though we
all greatly need the copper kettle to make barbs for
These noble red men, for we must think they
exhibited a noble spirit, then departed. DeVrees
was, at the time, in the manor house. He hastened
down the river to fort Amsterdam and indignantly
addressing the governor, said :
" Has it not happened just as I foretold, that you
are only helping to shed christian blood ? Who will
now compensate us for our losses?''
The wretched Kieft had not one word to reply.
He however, made a weak and unavailing attempt
to appease the wrath of the Long Island Indians.
But the roaring tornado of savage vengeance could
not thus be divested of its terrors. The messengers
he sent, approaching a band of Indians, cried out to
them, " We come to you as friends." They shouted
back contemptuously, "Are you our friends? You
are only corn thieves." Refusing all intercourse
they disappeared in the forest.
During all these scenes the infamous and cow-
ardly Kieft ensconced himself securely within the
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. IO9
walls of the fort. The bewailings of ruined farmers,
and of widows and orphan children rose all around
him. To divert public clamor, he fitted out several
expeditions against the Indians. But these expedi-
tions all returned having accomplished nothing.
" The proud heart of the Director," writes Brc d-
head, " began to fail him at last. In one week des-
olation and sorrow had taken the place of gladness
and prosperity. The colony entrusted to his charge
was nearly ruined. It was time to humble himself
before the Most High, and invoke from heaven the
mercy which the christian had refused the savage.
" A day of general fasting and prayer was pro-
claimed. ' We continue to suffer much trouble and
loss from the heathen, and many of our inhabitants
see their lives and property in jeopardy, which is
doubtless owing to our sins,' was Kieft's contrite
confession, as he exhorted every one penitently to
supplicate the mercy of God, ' so that his holy name
may not, through our iniquities, be blasphemed by
the heathen.' ''
The people still held the Director responsible
for all the consequences which had followed the
massacres of Pavonia and Corlaer's Hook. They
boldly talked of arresting and deposing him, and of
sending him, as a culprit, back to Holland. The
Director, panic stricken, endeavored to shift the
no PETER STUYVESANT.
responsibility of the insane course which had been
pursued, upon one Adriansen, an influential burgh-
er, who was the leading man among the petitioners
who had counselled war.
Adriansen was now a ruined man. His own
plantation had been utterly devastated. Exasperat-
ed by his losses, he had no disposition to take upon
himself the burden of that popular odium which had
now become so heavy. Losing all self-control, he
seized a sword and a pistol, and rushed into the Di-
rector's room, with the apparent intention of assas-
sinating him, exclaiming, " what lies are these you
are reporting of me."
He was disarmed and imprisoned. One of his
servants took a gun, went to the fort and deliber-
ately discharged the piece at the Director, but with-
out hitting him. The would-be assassin was shot
down by a sentinel and his head exposed upon the
scaffold. Adriansen was sent to Holland" for trial.
After terrible scenes of suffering, a temporary
peace was restored through the heroic interposition
of DeVrees. He was the only man who dared to
venture among the exasperated Indians. They
watched over him kindly, and entreated him to be
cautious in exposing himself, lest harm might befall
him from some wandering Indians by whom he was
not known. But the wrongs which the Indians had
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. 1 1 1
experienced were too deep to be buried in oblivion.
And there was nothing in the character of Kieft to
secure their confidence. After the truce of a few
weeks the war, without any imaginable cause, broke
All the settlements at Westchester and Long
Island were laid waste. Scarcely an inhabitant,
save the roving Indian, was to be found in those re-
gions. The Dutch were driven out of the whole of
New Jersey. The settlers on Staten Island were
trembling in hourly expectation of an assault.
War's devastating surges of flame and blood swept
nearly the whole island of Manhattan. Bold men
ventured to remain well armed, upon a few of the
farms, or boweries as they were called, in the immedi-
ate vicinity of the fort, but they were continually
menaced with attack, night and day. A bowery was
a farm on which the family resided. A plantation
was one of those extended tracts of land, which was
partly cultivated but upon which no settler dwelt.
There was no protection anywhere for the trem-
bling population, save in and directly around fort
Amsterdam. Mr. Brodhead, alluding to these scenes
of terror, writes,
" The women and children lay concealed in straw
huts, while their husbands and fathers mounted
guard on the crumbling ramparts above For thn
tl2 PETER STUYVESANT.
fort itself was almost defenceless. It resembled
rather a mole-hill than a fortress against an enemy.
The cattle, which had escaped destruction, were
huddled within the walls, and were already begin-
ning to starve for want of forage. It was indispens-
able to maintain a constant guard at all hours, for
seven allied tribes, well supplied with muskets,
pow5er and ball, which they had procured from
private traders, boldly threatened to attack the
dilapidated citadel with all their strength, now
amounting to fifteen hundred men.
" So confident had the enemy become, that their
scouting parties constantly threatened the advanced
sentinels of the garrison. Ensign Van Dyck, while
relieving guard at one of the outposts, was wounded
by a musket ball in his arm. All the forces that the
Dutch could now muster, besides the fifty or sixty
soldiers in garrison, were about two hundred free-
men. With this handful of men was New Nether-
land to be defended against the implacable fury of
her savage foe."
For a time the war which had desolated the re-
gion of the lower valley of the Hudson, did not
reach fort Nassau, now Albany. The tribes resident
there were at war with the lower river tribes. As
these Indians still maintained apparently friendly
relations with the whites, the patroon, Van Rens-
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. II 3
Belaer, allowed his agents freely to sell to them fire
arms and powder.
This distant and feeble post at this time consisted
only of a wretched little fort built of logs, with
eight or ten small cannon or swivels.
A hamlet of about thirty huts was scattered
along the river. A church, thirty-four feet long
by nineteen wide, had been erected in a pine
grove within range of the guns of the fort. Nine
benches accommodated the congregation. A very
faithful pastor, Domine Megapolensis, ministered to
The red men were often attracted to the church
to hear the preached gospel, and wondered what it
meant. Megapolensis writes ;
" When we have a sermon sometimes ten or
twelve of the Indians will attend, each having in his
mouth a long tobacco pipe made by himself, and
will stand awhile and look. Afterwards they will
ask me what I was doing, and what I wanted, that
I stood there alone and made so many words and
none of the rest might speak.
" I tell them that I admonish the christians that
they must no' steal or drink, or commit murder, or
do anything wrong, and that I intend, after a while,
to come and preach to them when I am acquainted
with their language. They say that I do wtl! in
114 PETER STUYVESANT.
teaching the christians, but immediately add, ' Why
do so many christians do these things? ' "
This was several years before John Eliot com-
menced preaching the gospel to the Indians near
Boston. Kieft very earnestly applied to the Eng-
lish colony at New Haven for assistance against the
Indians. The proposal was submitted to the Gen-
eral Court. After mature deliberation, it was de-
cided that the Articles of Confederation between
the New England colonies prohibited them from
engaging separately in war ; and that moreover
" they were not satisfied that the Dutch war with
the Indians was just."
The Dutch Director, thus disappointed in ob-
taining assistance from the English, was roused to
the energies of desperation. The spirit of the peo-
ple also rose to meet the emergency. It was de-
termined to commence the most vigorous offensive
measures against the savages.
We have not space to enter into the details of
this dreadful war. We will record one of its san-
guinary scenes, as illustrative of many others. The
Connecticut Indians, in the vicinity of Greenwich,
had joined the allied tribes, and were becoming
increasingly active in their hostility. Ensign Van
Dyck was dispatched with one hundred and fifty
men in three vessels. The expedition landed at
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. 11$
Greenwich. The Indian warriors, over five hundred
in number, were assembled in a strongly palisaded
village in the vicinity of Stamford.
It was midnight in February, 1644, when the ex-
pedition approached the Indian village. All the
day long the men had toiled through the snow. It
was a wintry night, clear and cold, with a full moon
whose rays, reflected by the dazzling surface of hill
and valley, were so brilliar.t that " many winter days
were not brighter."
The Dutch, discharging a volley of bullets upon
the doomed village, charged, sword in hand. The
savages, emboldened by their superior numbers,
made a desperate resistance. But in a conflict like
this, arrows are comparatively powerless when op-
posed to muskets. The Indians, unable to reach
their foes with their arrows, made several very bold
sallies, recklessly endeavoring to break the Dutch
lines. They were invariably driven back with great
loss. Not one of them could show himself outside
the palisades without being shot down.
In less than an hour the dark forms of one hun-
dred and eighty Indian warriors lay spread out upon
the blood-crimsoned snow. And now the Dutch
succeeded in applying the torch. The whole village,
composed of the most combustible materials, was
instantly in flames. The Indians lost all self-posse*
Il6 PETER STUYVESANT.
sion. They ran to and fro in a state of frenzy. As
they endeavored to escape they were, with unerring
aim, shot down, or driven back into their blazing
huts. Thus over five hundred perished. Of all who
crowded the little village at nightfall but eight
escaped. Only eight of the Dutch were wounded ;
but not one fatally.
The conflagration of an hour laid the bark village
in ashes. Nothing remained. The victors built
large fires and bivouacked upon the snow. The
next day they returned to Stamford, and two days
afterward reached fort Amsterdam.
War is generally ruin to both parties. In this
case neither of the combatants gained anything.
Both parties alike reaped but a harvest of blood and
woe. Scouting parties of the savages prowled
beneath the very walls of fort Amsterdam, ready at
a moment's warning, to dart into the wilderness,
where even the bravest of the Dutch could not ven-
ture to pursue. For the protection of the few cattle
which remained, all the men turned out and built a
stout fence, " from the great bowery or farm across
to Emanuel plantation," near the site of the present
During the whole summer of 1644, the savages
were busy carrying the desolating war into everj'
unprotected nook and corner. The condition of
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. 11/
the colony became desperate, being almost entirely
destitute of food, money and clothing. The utter
incompetency of Kieft was daily more conspicuous.
He did nothing. " Scarce a foot was moved on land,
or an oar laid in the water." The savages, thus left
in security to fish and gather in their crops, were
ever increasingly insolent and defiant. One of the
annalists of those times writes :
" Parties of Indians roved about day and night,
over Manhattan island, killing the Dutch not a
thousand paces from fort Amsterdam. No one
dared to move a foot to fetch a stick of firewood
without a strong escort."
Kieft, in his overwhelming embarrassments, had
found it necessary to convene eight select men to
advise him and to aid in supporting his authority.
These select men decided to demand of the home
government the recall of Kieft, whose incapacity
had thus plunged the once-flourishing colony into
utter ruin. They also urged the introduction into
New Netherland of the municipal system of the
In their brief but touching memorial they write,
" Our fields lie fallow and waste. Our dwellings are
burned. Not a handful can be sown this autumn on
the deserted places. The crops, which God permit-
ted to come forth during the summer, remain rotting
Il8 PETER STUYVESANT.
in the fields. We have no means to provide neces-
saries for wives or children. We sit here amidst
thousands of savages from whom we can find neither
peace nor mercy.
" There are those among us who, by the sweat
and labor of their hands, through many long years
and at great expense, have endeavored to improve
their land. Others have come with ships freighted
with a large quantity of cattle. They have cleared
away the forest, enclosed their plantations, and
brought them under the plough, so as to be an or-
nament to the country and a profit to the proprie-
tors after their long and laborious toil. The whole
of these now lie in ashes through a foolish hanker-
ing after war.
" All right-thinking men here know that these
Indians have lived as lambs among us until a few
years ago, injuring no man, offering every assistance
to our nation, and when no supplies were sent for
several months, furnishing provisions to the Com-
pany's servants until they received supplies. These
hath the Director, by several uncalled-for proceedings
from time to time, so estranged from us, and so
embittered against the Netherlands nation, that wft
do not believe that anything will bring them and
peace back, unless the Lord, who bends all hearts to
his will, propitiate their people.
WAR AND ITS DEVASTATIONS. II9
"Little or nothing of any account has been done
here for the country. Every place is going to ruin
Neither counsel nor advice is taken.''
After giving an account of the origin and pro
gress of the war, they warn the home government
against relying upon the statements which the
Director had sent over to them. "These state-
ments," they said, " contain as many lies as lines."
The memorial was concluded with the following
forcible words :
" Honored Lords ; this is what we have, in the
sorrow of our hearts, to complain of. We shall
end here, and commit the matter wholly to our God,
praying that he will move your lordships' minds, so
that a Governor may be speedily sent to us with a
beloved peace, or that we may be permitted to re-
turn with our wives and children, to our dear father-
land. For it is impossible ever to settle this country
until a different system be introduced here, and a
new Governor sent out."
In response to this appeal Kieft was recalled.
Just before he received his summons peace was con-
cluded with the Indians, on the 31st of August, 1645.
The war had raged five years. It had filled the land
with misery. All were alike weary of its carnage
and woes. A new governor was appointed, Petei
Stuyvesant. The preceding account of the origir
I20 PETER STUYVESANT.
of the Dutch colony and its progress thus far is
essential to the understanding of the long and suc-
cessful administration of the new governor, whose
name is one of the most illustrious in the early
annals of New York.
It may be worthy of brief remark that a few
weeks after the arrival of Governor Stuyvesant,
Kieft embarked in the ship Princess for Holland.
The vessel was wrecked on the coast of Wales
Kieft and eighty-one men, women and children sank
into a watery grave. Kieft died nnlamented. His
death was generally regarded as an act of retributive
New Netherland in 1646. — Early Years of Peter Stuyvesant. — Decay
of New Amsterdam. — The Germs of a Representative Govern-
ment. — Energetic Administration. — Death of Governor Win-
throp. — Claims for Long Island. — Arrogance of the Governor. —
Remonstrance of the Nine Men. — The Pastoral Office. — Boun-
dary lines. — Increasing Discontent. — Division of Parties. — Dic-
It is estimated that the whole population of New
Netherland, in the year 1646, amounted to about one
thousand souls. In 1643, it numbered three thou-
sand. Such was the ruin which the mal-administra-
tion of Kieft had brought upon the colony. The
male adult population around Amsterdam was re-
duced to one hundred. At the same time the pop-
ulation of the flourishing New England colonies had
increased to about sixty thousand.
On the nth of May, 1647, Governor Stu3rvesant
arrived at Manhattan. He was appointed as " Re-
dresser General," of all colonial abuses. We have
but little knowledge of the early life of Peter Stuy-
vesant. The West India Company had a colony
122 PETER STUYVESANT.
upon the island of Curagoa, in the Caribbean Sea.
For some time Stuyvesant had been its efficient Di-
rector. He was the son of a clergyman in Fries-
land, one of the northern provinces of the Nether-
He received a good academic education, becom-
ing quite a proficient in the Latin language, of
which accomplishment, it is said that he was after-
wards somewhat vain. At school he was impetuous,
turbulent and self-willed. Upon leaving the acad-
emy he entered the military service, and soon de-
veloped such energy of character, such a spirit of
self-reliance and such administrative ability that
he was appointed director of the colony at Curajoa.
He was recklessly courageous, and was deemed some-
what unscrupulous in his absolutism. In an attack
upon the Portuguese island of Saint Martin, in the
year 1644, which attack was not deemed fully justi-
fiable, he lost a leg. The wound rendered it neces-
sary for him to return to Holland in the autumn of
1644, for surgical aid.
Upon his health being re-established, the Direc-
tors of the West India Company, expressing much
admiration for his Roman courage, appointed him
Governor of their colony in New Netherland, which
was then in a state of ruin. There were also under
his sway the islands of Cura§oa, Buenaire and
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. 1 23
Amba. The Provincial Government presented him
with a paper of instructions very carefully drawn up.
The one-man power, which Kieft had exercised, was
very considerably modified. Two prominent offi-
cers, the Vice-Director and the Fiscal, were associa-
ted with him in the administration of all civil and
military affairs. They were enjoined to take especial
care that the English should not further encroach
upon the Company's territory. They were also di-
rected to do everything in their power to pacify the
Indians and to restore friendly relations with them.
No fire-arms or ammunition were, under any cir-
cumstances, to be sold to the Indians.
Van Diricklagen was associated with the Gov-
ernor as Vice-Director, and ensign Van Dyck, of
whom the reader has before heard, was appointed
Fiscal, an important office corresponding with our
post of Treasurer. Quite a large number of emi-
grants, with abundant supplies, accompanied this
party. The little fleet of four ships left the Texel
on Christmas day of 1646. The expedition, run-
ning in a southerly direction, first visited the West
India islands. On the voyage the imperious tem-
per of Stuyvesant very emphatically developed it-
Holland was then at war with Spain. A prife
was captured and the question arose respecting its
124 PETER STUYVESANT.
disposal. Fiscal Van Dyck claimed, by virtue of his
office, a seat at the council board and a voice in the
decision. The governor rudely repulsed him with
" Get out. Who admitted you into the council.
When I want you I will call you."
When they arrived at Curajoa, Van Dyck again
made an attempt to gain that place in the Council
to which he thought his office legitimately entitled
him. Stuyvesant punished him by confining him to
the ship, not allowing him to step on shore. All
the other officers and soldiers were freely allowed to
■ recruit themselves by strolling upon the land.
Upon reaching Manhattan, Stuyvesant was re-
ceived by the whole community with great rejoic-
ing. And when he said, " I shall reign over you as
a father governs his children," they were perhaps
not fully aware of the dictatorial spirit which was to
animate his government. With wonderful energy
he immediately devoted himself to the reform of
abuses. Though he availed himself of absolute pow-
er, taking counsel of no one, all his measures seem
to have been adopted, not for the advancement of
his own selfish interests, but for the promotion nf
the public good.
Proclamations were issued against Sabbath des-
ecration, intemperance and all quarrelling. No in-
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. 1 25
toxicating liquors were to be sold to the savages
under a penalty of five hundred guilders. And the
seller was also to be held responsible for any injury
which the savage might inflict, while under the influ-
ence of strong drink. After the ringing of the nine
o'clock bell in the evening, intoxicating drinks were
not to be sold to any person whatever.
To draw a knife in a quarrel was to be punished
with a heavy fine and six months imprisonment. If
a wound was inflicted the penalty was trebled.
Great faults accompanied this development of
energy. The new governor assumed " state and
pomp like a peacock's." He kept all at a distance
from him, exacted profound homage, and led many
to think that he would prove a very austere father.
All his acts were characterized by great vigor.
New Amsterdam, at that time, presented a very
dilapidated and deplorable appearance. The fort
was crumbling to ruins. The skeleton of an unfin-
ished church deformed the view. The straggling
fences were broken down. The streets were narrow
and crooked, many of the houses encroaching upon
them. The foul enclosures for swine bordered the
A system of taxation upon both exports and
imports was introduced, which speedily replenished
the treasury. Governor Stuyvesant was a professing
126 PETER STUYVESANT.
christian, being a devout member of the Reformed
Church of the fatherland. He promptly transferred
his relations to the church at fort Amsterdam. He
became an elder in the church, and conscious that
the christian religion was the basis of all prosperity,
one of his first acts, was the adoption of measures
for the completion of the church edifice. Proprietors
of vacant lots were ordered to fence them in and
improve them. Surveyors of buildings were appoint-
ed to regulate the location and structure of new
The embarrassments which surrounded the .gov-
ernor were so great that he found it necessary to
support his authority by calling public opinion to
his aid. " Necessity," writes Brodhead, " produced
concession and prerogative yielded to popular rights
The Council recommended that the principle of
representation should be conceded to the people.
An election was ordered and eighteen " of the
most notable, reasonable, honest and respectable
persons" in the colony were chosen, from whom the
governor was to select nine persons as a sort of
privy council. It is said that Stuyvesant was very
reluctant to yield at all to the people, and that he
very jealously guarded the concessions to which he
was constrained to assent. By this measure populai
GOVtKNOR STUYVESANT. 127
rights gained largely. The Nine Men had howeveJ
only the power to give advice when it was asked.
When assembled, the governor could attend the
meeting and act as president.
Governor Stuyvesant, soon after his arrival at
fort Amsterdam, addressed courteous letters to the
governors of all the neighboring colonies. In his
letter to Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, he
asserted the indubitable right of the Dutch to all
the territory between the Connecticut and the Dela-
ware, and proposed an interview for the settlement
of all difficulties.
An Amsterdam ship, the Saint Benino, entered
the harbor of New Haven, and for a month engaged
in trade without a license from the West India Com-
pany. Stuyvesant, ascertaining the fact, sent a
company of soldiers on a secret expedition to New
Haven, seized the vessel on the Lord's day, brought
her to Manhattan, and confiscated both ship and
Emboldened by success, Stuyvesant sent a lettt*
to the authorities at New Haven claiming all the
region from Cape Henlopen to Cape Cod as part of
the territory of New Netherland, and affirming his
right to levy duties upon all Dutch vessels trading
within those limit:-.
Governor Eaton, of the New Haven colony, sent
128 PETER STUYVESANr.
back a rempnstrance protesting gainst the Dutch
governor as a disturber of the public peace- by
"making unjust claims to our lands and plantations,
to our havens and rivers, and by taking a ship out
of our harbor without our license."
Three deserters from Manhattan fled to New
Haven. Governor Eaton, though bound by trecity
obligations to deliver them up, yet indignant in view
of what he deemed the arrogant claim of Governor
Stuyvesant, refused to surrender them, lest the
surrender should be deemed as " done in the way of
subordination." The impetuous Stuyvesant at once
issued a retaliatory proclamation in which he said :
" If any person, noble or ignoble, freeman or
slave, debtor or creditor, yea, to the lowest prisoner
included, run away from the colony at New Haven,
or seek refuge in our limits, he shall remain free,
under our protection, on taking the oath of allegi-
This decree excited strong disapprobation at
home as well as in the other colonies. The inhabi-
tants of Manhattan objected to it as tending to con-
vert the province into a refuge for vagabonds from
the neighboring English settlements. After a few
months the obnoxious proclamation was revoked.
But in the meantime Governor Stuyvesant had
brib-d the runaways, who had been taken into the
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. 1 29
public service at New Haven, to escape and return
As a precaution against fire, it was ordered that
if a house were burned through the owner's negli-
gence, he should be heavily fined. Fire-wardens
were appointed to inspect the buildings. If any
chimney was found foul, the owner was fined and
the sum was appointed to purchasing fire-ladders,
hooks and buckets. As nearly one-fourth of the
houses were licensed for the sale of brandy, tobacco
or beer, it was resolved that no farther licenses
should be granted. It was ordered that cattle and
swine should be pastured within proper enclosures.
And it was also ordained that, " from this time forth,
in the afternoon as well as in the forenoon, there
shall be preaching from God's word." Many of the
Indians were employed as servants or day laborers.
They were often defrauded of their wages. A
decree was issued, punishing with a fine those who
neglected to pay these debts.
In January, 1649, Charles I., of England, was
beheaded in front of his own banqueting hall, and
England became nominally a republic. The event
created the most profound sensation throughout all
Christendom. The shock, which agitated all Europe,
was felt in America. The prince of Wales and the
duke of York, escaping from England, took refuge
130 PETER STUYVESANT.
in Holland with their brother-in-law, the stadtholder,
William, prince of Orange, A rupture between
England and Holland appeared imminent. The
Puritans in America were well pleased with the
establishment of a republic in their native land. A
war between the two European nations would prob-
ably bring all the Dutch colonies under the control
of England. The West India Company, in view of
these perils, urged Stuyvesant " to live with his
neighbors on the best terms possible.''
On the 24th of March, of this year, the venera-
ble Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, died, at
the age of sixty-one. Governor Eaton, of New
Haven, proposed to Stuyvesant a meeting of the
Governors, at Boston, to discuss the affairs of the
colonies. The meeting was held in August. It
was not harmonious. The Dutch were forbidden
from trading anywhere with the Indians within the
territory of the English colonies, and Stuyvesant
was very emphatically informed that the English
claimed all the territory between Cape Cod and New
Lady Stirling, widow of Lord Stirling, deter-
mined to maintain her title to the whole of Long
Island. She sent an agent, who announced himself
to the English settlers at Hempstead, on the north-
ern portion of the island, as governor of the whole
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. I3I
island under the Dowager Countess of Stirling.
Intelligence of this was speedily sent to Stuyvesant.
The Dutch Governor caused his immediate arrest,
ordered him, notwithstanding his " very consequen-
tial airs," to be examined before the council, took
copies of his papers, and placed him on board ship
for Holland. The ship put in at an English port,
the agent escaped and was heard of no more.
The council, much displeased with the absolutism
assumed by Stuyvesant, resolved to send one of
their number, a remarkably energetic man, Adrien
Van Der Donck, to Holland to seek redress from
the home government. The movement was some-
what secret, and they endeavored to conceal from
the governor the papers which were drawn up, con-
taining the charges against him. The spirit of Stuy-
vesant was roused.
He went in person, with some officers, to the
chamber of Van Der Donck, when he was absent,
seized his papers, and then caused him to be arrest-
ed and imprisoned.
The Vice Director, Van Diricklagen, accompa-
nied by a delegation from the people, protested
against these proceedings, and demanded that Van
Der Donck should be released from captivity and
held on bail. Stuyvesant refused, saying that the
prisoner was arrested, " for calumniating the off?
132 PETER STUYVESANT.
cers of government ; that his conduct tended to
bring the sovereign authority into contempt."
Van Der Donck was punished by banishment from
the council and from the board of Nine Men.
Just before this, two prominent men, Kuyter
and Melyn, demanded an appeal to the people in
reference to some act of Kieft's reckless administra-
tion. Stuyvesant took the alarm. If the people
could judge of Kieft's administration, his own might
be exposed to the same ordeal. Convening a spe-
cial council, he said,
" These petitioners are disturbers of the public
peace. If we grant their request, will not the cun-
ning fellows, in order to usurp over us a more un-
limited power, claim even greater authority against
ourselves, should it happen that our administration
may not square in every respect with their whims.
It is treason to petition against one's magistrate
whether there be cause or not."
The unfortunate petitioners were now arraigned
on various charges. The Governor and his subser-
vient Council acted both as prosecutors and judges.
The prisoners were accused of instigating the war
with the savages, of counselling the mortgaging of
Manhattan to the English, and of threatening Kieft
with personal violence. The case was speedily de^
cided and sentence -yas pronounced. Stuyvesant
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. I33
wished Melyn to be punished with death and confis-
cation of property. But the majority of the Council
held back the Governor's avenging hand. Still he
succeeded in sentencing Meiyn to seven years' ban-
ishment, to a fine of three hundred guilders, and to
forfeit all benefits derived from the Company. Kuy-
ter was sentenced to three years' banishment and to
a fine of one hundred and fifty guilders. They were
also denied the right of appeal to the fatherland.
" If I were persuaded," said the Governor, " that
you would divulge our sentence, or bring it before
their High Mightinesses, I would have you hanged
at once, on the highest tree in New Netherland."
Again he said, with characteristic energy, " If any
one, during my administration, shall appeal, I will
make him a foot shorter, and send the pieces to
Holland and let him appeal in that way."*
Melyn and Kuyter being sent to Holland as crim-
inals, did appeal to the home government ; their
harsh sentence was suspended ; they were restored
to all the rights of colonists of New Netherland, and
Stuyvesant was cited to defend his sentence at the
Hague. When Melyn returned to Manhattan with
these authoritative papers, a great tumult was excit-
ed. Anxious that his triumph should be as public
* History of the State ol New York, By John Romeyn Brod<
bead Vol I. p. 473.
134 PETER STUYVESANT.
as his disgrace had been, he demanded that the
Acts should be read to the people assembled in the
church. With much difficulty he carried his point.
" I honor the States and shall obey their com-
mands," said Stuyvesant, " I shall send an attorney
to sustain the sentence.''
The Indians loudly, and with one accord, de>
manded the right to purchase fire-arms. For years
they had been constantly making such purchases,
either through the colonists at Rensselaerswyck, or
from private traders. It was feared that the persist-
ent refusal to continue the supply, might again in-
stigate them to hostilities. The Directors of the
West India government therefore intimated that
" it was the best policy to furnish them with pow-
der and ball, but with a sparing hand."
Stuyvesant ordered a case of guns to be brought
over from Holland. They were landed openly at
fort Amsterdam and placed under the care of an
agent of the governor. Thus Stuyvesant himself
was to monopolize the trade, which was extremely
lucrative ; for the Indians would pay almost any
price for guns, powder and shot. This increased the
growing dissatisfaction. The Indians would readily
exchange skins to the amount of forty dollars for a
gun, and of four dollars for a pound of powder
" The governor," it was said, " assumes to b«
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. I3S
everything. He establishes shops for himself and
does the business of the whole country. He is a
brewer and has breweries. He is a ship-owner, a
merchant, and a trader in both lawful and contra-
The Nine Men persisted in their resolve to send
a remonstrance to the fatherland. The memorial
was signed and forwarded the latter part of July.
In this important document, which first gave a brief
account of the past history of the colony, the admin-
istration of Stuyvesant was reviewed with much
" In our opinion," said the remonstrants, " this
country will never flourish under the present gov-
ernment. The country must be provided with godly,
honorable and intelligent rulers, who are not very
indigent, and who are not too covetous. The mode
in which this country is now governed is intolerable.
Nobody is secure in his property longer than the
Director pleases, who is generally strongly inclined
to confiscating. A good population would be the
consequence of a good government. Many would
be allured here by the pleasantness, situation, salu-
brity and fruitfulness of the country, if protection
Three of the signers were deputed to convey
the remonstrance to the Hague and lay it before tlit
136 PETER STUYVESANT.
authorities there. The pastor of the church at Man-
hattan, Domine Backerus, returned to Holland with
the commissioners. He was greatly dissatisfied with
the regime of the governor, and upon his arrival in
Holland, joined the complainants.
Domine Megapolensis, who had been pastor
of the church at Rensselaerswyck, having obtained
letters of dismission from his church, was also about
to sail to the fatherland. The colonists, generally
religiously disposed, were greatly troubled, being
threatened with a total loss of the gospel ministry.
By the earnest solicitation of Stuyvesant, he con-
sented to remain at Manhattan, where he was
formally installed as pastor of the church, upon a
salary of twelve hundred guilders, which was about
four hundred dollars. At the same time the ener-
getic governor manifested his interest in education
by writing earnestly to Amsterdam, urging that a
pious, well-qualified and diligent schoolmaster might
be sent out. " Nothing," he added, " is of greater
importance than the right, early instruction of
The governor was sorely annoyed by the action
of the States-General, reversing his sentence against
Melyn and Kuyter. He wrote that he should obey
their decision, but that he would rather never have
received their commission as governor, than to have
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. I37
had his authority lowered in the eyes of his neigh-
bors and friends.
The three commissioners, bearing the memorial
of the Nine Men, reached Holland in safety. The
States-General received their memorial, and also
listened to the reply of the agent, whom Stuyvesant
had sent out to plead his cause. The decision of
the States was virtually a rebuke of the dictatorial
government of Stuyvesant, and several very impor-
tant reforms were ordered. This decision displeased
the West India Company. Those men deemed
their rights infringed upon by this action of the
States-General. They were therefore led to espouse
the cause of the governor. Thus strengthened,
Stuyvesant ventured to disregard the authority oi
The Dutch at Manhattan began to be clamorous
for more of popular freedom. Stuyvesant, hoping
to enlist the sympathies of the governors of the
English colonies in his behalf, made vigorous ar-
rangements for the long projected meeting with the
Commissioners of the United Colonies.
On the 17th of September, 1650, Governor Stuy-
vesant embarked at Manhattan, with his secretary,
George Baxter, and quite an imposing suite.
Touching at several places along the sound, he ar-
rived at Hartford in four days. After much discus-
I 38 PETER STUYVESANT,
sion it was agreed to refer all differences, of th«
points in controversy, to four delegates, two to be
chosen from each side. It is worthy of special re-
mark that Stuyvesant's secretary was an English-
man, and he chose two Englishmen for his dele-
In the award delivered by the arbitrators, it was
decided that upon Long Island a line running from
the westernmost part of Oyster Bay, in a straight
direction to the sea, should be the bound between
the English and the Dutch territory ; the easterly
part to belong to the English, the westernmost part
to the Dutch. Upon the mainland, the boundary
line was to commence on the west side of Greenwich
bay, about four miles from Stamford, and to run in
a northerly direction twenty miles into the country,
provided that the said line came not within ten
miles of the Hudson river. The Dutch were not to
build any house within six miles of said line. The
inhabitants of Greenwich were to remain, till further
consideration, under the Government of the Dutch.
It was also decided that a nearer union of friendship
and amity, between England and the Dutch colonies
in America, should be recommended to the several
jurisdictions of the United Colonies.
Stuyvesant reported the result of these negotia-
tions to the Chamber at Amsterdam but, for some
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. 1 39
unexplained reason, did not send to that body a
copy of the treaty. Upon his return to Manhattan
he was immediately met with a storm of discontent.
His choice of two Englishmen as the referees, to
represent the Dutch cause, gave great offence. It
was deemed an insult to his own countrymen.
There was a general disposition with the colonists
to repudiate a treaty which the Dutch had had no
hand in forming. Complaints were sent to Holland
that the Governor had surrendered more territory
than might have formed fifty colonies ; and that, re-
jecting those reforms in favor of popular rights
which the home government had ordered, he was
controlling all things with despotic power.
" This grievous and unsuitable government,'' the
Nine Men wrote, " ought at once to be reformed.
The measures ordered by the home government
should be enforced so that we may live as happily
as our neighbors. Our term of office is about to
expire. The governor has declared that he will
not appoint any other select men. We shall not
dare again to assemble in a body ; for we dread un-
justifiable prosecutions, and we can already discern
the smart thereof from afar." *
Notwithstanding these reiterated rebukes, Stuy-
• John Romeyn Brodhead, Vol. I. p. 521. E. B. O'Callaghan. M D
Vol 2. p. 157.
140 PETER STUYVESANT.
vesant persisted in his arbitrary course. The vice-
director, Van Diricklagen, and the fiscal or treasurer
Van Dyck, united in a new protest expressing the
popular griefs. Van Der Donck was the faithful
representative of the commonalty in their father-
land. The vice-director, in forwarding the new pro-
test to him wrote,
" Our great Muscovy duke keeps on as of old ;
something like the wolf, the longer he lives the
worse he bites."
It is a little remarkable that the English refu-
gees, who were quite numerous in the colony, were
iii sympathy with the arbitrary assumptions of the
governor. They greatly strengthened his' hands by
sending a Memorial to the West India Company,
condemning the elective franchise which the Dutch
" We willingly acknowledge," they wrote, " that
the power to elect a governor from among ourselves,
which is, we know, the design of some here, would
be our ruin, by reason of our factions and the differ-
ence of opinion which prevails among us."
The West India Company, not wil ling to relin-
quish the powers which it grasped, was also in very
decided opposition to the spirit of popular freedom
which the Dutch colonists were urging, and which
was adopted by the States-General. Thus, in this
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. I4I
great controversy, the governor, the West India
Company and the English settlers in the colony were
on one side. Upon the other side stood the States-
General and the Dutch colonists almost without
The vice-director was punished for his protest,
by expulsion from the council and by imprisonment
in the guard-room for four days. Upon his libera-
tion he took refuge with the Patroon on Staten
Island. The notary, who had authenticated the
protest, was dismissed from office and forbidden any
farther to practice his profession. In every possible
way, Stuyvesant manifested his displeasure against
his own countrymen of the popular party, while the
English were treated with the utmost consideration.
In the treaty of Hartford no reference was made
to the interests of the Dutch on the south, or Dela-
ware river. The New Haven people equipped a
vessel and dispatched fifty emigrants to establish a
colony upon some lands there, which they claimed
to have purchased of the Indians. The governor
regarded this as a breach of the treaty, for the Eng-
lish territory terminated and the Dutch began at
the bay of Greenwich. The expedition put in at
Manhattan. The energetic governor instantly ar
rested the leaders and held them in close confine-
ment till they signed a promise not to proceed to
T42 PETER STUYVESANT.
the Delaware. The emigrants, thus discomfited,
returned to New Haven.
At the same time Governor Stuyvesant sent a
very emphatic letter to Governor Eaton of New
Haven, in, which he wrote :
" I shall employ force of arms and martial oppo-
sition, even to bloodshed, against all English in-
truders within southern New Netherland."
In this movement oi the English to get a foot-
hold upon the Delawa'/r liver, Stuyvesant thought
he saw a covert purpose on their part, to dispossess
the Dutch of all their pcrsessions in America.
Thinking it not improbable tl'i\t it might be neces-
sary to appeal to aims, he demanded of the authori-
ties of Rensselaenwyck a subsit')'. The patroons,
who had been at great expense in colonizing the
territory, deemed the demand unj ist, and sent a
commissioner to remonstrate against U Stuyvesant
arrested the commissioner and held h^m in close
confinement for four months. •
The Swedes were also making vigorow; efforts to
get possession of the beautiful lands on tbe Dela-
ware. Stuyvesant, with a large suite of f.fficers,
visited that region. In very decided teir\s he
communicated to Printz the Swedish governor .'here,
that the Dutch claimed the territory upon the tVee*
fold title of discovery, settlement and purchase f om
GOVERNOR STUYVESANT. 143
the natives. He then summoned all the Indian
chiefs on the banks of the river, in a grand council
at fort Nassau. After a " solemn conference" these
chiefs ceded to the West India Company all the
lands on both sides of the river to a point called by
them Neuwsings, near the mouth of the bay.
The Swedes were left in possession only of a
small territory surrounding their fort, called Chris-
tina. As Stuyvesant thought fort Nassau too far
up the river and inconvenient of access, he de-
molished it. In its seclusion in the wilderness it
had stood for twenty-eight years. A new fort called
Casimir was erected, on the west side of the river
near the present site of New Castle, four miles
below the Swedish fort Christina. Having thus
triumphantly accomplished his object, Stuyvesant
returned to Manhattan.
War Between England and Holland.
Action of the Patroons. — Settlements on the Hudson. — Alann of tt*
Home Government. — Recall of Stuyvesant. — His Escape from
Humiliation. — Difficullies bet'-<;en England and Holland. — Tlie
Breaking out of War. — Direr'i'?ns to Stuyvesant. — The Rela-
tions of the Colonies. — Charg"' against the Dutch Governor. —
Their Refutation. — Efforts cS Stuyvesant for Peace. — Noble
Conduct of the Massachusetts '".^vemment. — The Advocates for
Governor Stuyvesant living removed the ob-
noxious vice-director, had another, Johannes Dyck-
man, who he thought would bt more subservient to
his wishes, appointed in his stcxd. The commissa-
ry of the patroons, whom ht had imprisoned at
Manhattan, secreted himself on bcc\rd a sloop and es-
caped up the river to Beaverwyck. The enraged
governor seized the skipper of the s'oop on his re-
turn, and inflicted upon him a heavy Ene.
The patroons were now fearful that tht governor
would fulfill his threat of extending his authority
over the extensive territory whose jurisdi'ttiyn the
Charter of Privileges had entrusted exclusixfly to
the patroons. They therefore, on an appointed d;iy
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 143
assembled the freemen and householders who bound
themselves, by an oath, " to maintain and support
offensively and defensively the right and jurisdic-
tion of the colony against every one."
Among the persons who took this oath we find
the name of John Baptist Van Rensselaer. He was
the younger half-brother of the patroon, and proba-
bly the first of the name who came to New Nether-
land. It was now reported that Governor Stuyve-
sant himself was about to visit fort Orange, and that
a new gallows was being prepared for those who
should attempt to thwart his wishes. The govern-
or soon arrived and, with his customary explicitness,
informed the authorities there, that the territory by
the Exemptions, allowed to the patroon, was to ex-
tend sixteen miles on one side of the river, or eight
miles if both banks were occupied. He called upon
them to define their boundaries, saying that he
should recognize the patroons' jurisdiction only to
that extent. These limits would include but a
small portion of the territory which the patroons
claimed by right of purchase from the Indians.
The authorities were not prepared to act upon
this question without instructions from Holland.
Stuyvesant would admit of no delay. He sent a
party of fourteen soldiers, armed with muskets, to
the patroon's house, who entered the enclosuie,
146 PETER STUYVESANT.
fired a volley, and hauled down the flag of the pa-
troon. He then issued a decree that Beaverswyck,
which included the region now occupied by the city
of Albany, was independent of the patroon's govern-
ment, and was brought under the jurisdiction of the
colony of fort Amsterdam.
Van Slechtenhorst, the patroon's bold and effi-
cient Commissary at Rensselaerswick, ordered the
governor's placards, announcing this change, to be
torn down, and a counter proclamation, affirming
the claims of the patroon to be posted in its stead.
The governor arrested him, imprisoned him for a
time in fort Orange, and then removed him to New
Amsterdam, where he was held in close custody,
until his successor, John Baptist Van Rensselaer, was
formally appointed in his place.
At this time, 1652, there were no settlements,
and but a few scattered farmhouses between the isl-
and of Manhattan and the Catskill mountains.
Thomas Chambers had a farm at what is now Troy.
With a few neighbors he moved down the river to
" some exceedingly beautiful lands," and began the
settlement of the present county of Ulster.
Stuyvesant returning to Manhattan, forbade any
persons from buying lands of the Indians without
his permission. The large sales which had been
made to prominent individuals were declared to be
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. I47
void, and the " pretended proprietors,'' were ordered
to return the purchase money. Should they how-
ever petition the governor, they might retain such
tracts as he and his council should permit.
By grant of the governor several new settlements
were commenced on Long Island, one at Newton,
one at Flatbush. The news had now reached
the Directors of the Company in Holland, of the
governor's very energetic measures on the Delaware,
supplanting the Swiss, demolishing fort Nassau and
erecting fort Casimir. They became alarmed lest
such violent measures might embroil them with the
Swedish government. In a letter addressed to
Stuyvesant, they wrote :
"Your journey to the South river, and what has
passed there between you and the Swedes, was very
unexpected to us, as you did not give us before so
much as a hint of your intention. We cannot give
our opinion upon it until we have heard the com-
plaints of the Swedish governor to his queen, and
have ascertained how these have been received at
her court. We hope that our arguments, to prove
that we were the first possessors of that country,
will be acknowledged as sufficient. Time will in-
struct us of the design of the new-built fort Casimir
We are at a loss to conjecture for what reason it has
received this name. You ought to be on your guard
148 PETER STUYVESANT.
that it be well secured, so that it cannot be sur-
The States -General were more and more dissatis.
ficd with the measures of Governor Stuyvesant.
The treaty of Hartford was severely censured.
They said that the Connecticut river should have
been the eastern boundary of New Netherland, and
that the whole of Long Island should have been
retained. Even the West India Company became
convinced that it was necessary to make some con-
cessions to the commonalty at Manhattan. They
therefore communicated to Stuyvesant their consent
that the " burgher government" should be estab-
lished, which the committee of Nine had petitioned
for in behalf of the commonalty, in 1649, and which
the States-General had authorized in 1650.
By this arrangement the people were to elect
seven representatives, who were to form a municipal
court of justice, subject to the right of appeal to
the Supreme Court of the province. The sheriff was
also invested with new powers. He was to convoke
and preside at the municipal court, to prosecute all
offenders against the laws, and to take care that
all the judgments of the court should be executed.
The people at Manhattan had thus won, to a very
considerable degree, the popular government which
they had so long desired.
WAR BETWEEN ENJLAND AND HOLLAND. 149
Quite to the amazement of the Directors of the
West India Company, the States-General recalled
Stuyvesant, ordering him to return immediately to
Holland to give an account of his administration.
He had been in the main the faithful agent of the
Company, carrying out its wishes in opposition to
popular reform. They therefore wrote to him,
stating that the requirement was in violation of their
charter, and requesting him " not to be in too much
haste to commence his voyage, but to delay it until
the receipt of further orders."
It so happened, however, that then the States-
General were just on the eve of hostilities with
England. It was a matter of the first importance
that New Netherland should be under the rule of a
governor of military experience, courage and energy.
No man could excel Stuyvesant in these qualities.
Yielding to the force of circumstances, the States-
General revoked their recall. Thus narrowly Stuy-
vesant escaped the threatened humiliation.
The English government was angry with Holland
for refusing to expel the royalist refugees, who, after
the execution of Charles I., had taken refuge in
Holland. The commerce of the Dutch Republic
then covered every sea. England, to punish the
Dutch and to revive her own decaying commerce,
issued, by Parliamentary vote, her famous " Act of
I50 PETER STUYVESANT.
Navigation," which was exultantly proclaimed at the
old London Exchange " with sound of trumpet and
beat of drum."
This Act decreed that no production of Asia,
Africa or America should be brought to England,
except in English vessels, manned by English crews,
and that no productions of Europe should be
brought to England, unless in English vessels, or in
those of the country in which the imported cargoes
were produced. These measures were considered
very unjust by all the other nations, and especially
by the Dutch, then the most commercial nation on
The States-General sent £\nbassadors to London
to remonstrate against such hostile action ; and at
the same time orders were issued for the equipment
of one hundred and fifty ships of war. The States-
General had not yet ratified Stuyvesant's treaty of
Hartford. The ambassadors were instructed to
urge that an immovable boundary line should be es-
tablished between the Dutch and English posses-
sions in America.
The reply of the English Government was not
conciliatory. The English, it was said, had always
been forbidden to trade in the Dutch colonies.
The Dutch ought therefore to find no fault with the
recent Navigation Act, from which measure the
War between England and Holland. 151
Council did not " deem it fitting to recede." As to
the colonial boundary, the ungracious reply was re-
" The English were the first settlers in North
America, from Virginia to Newfoundland. We
know nothing of any Dutch plantations there, ex-
cepting a few settlers up the Hudson. We do not
think it necessary at present, to settle the bounda-
ries. It can be done hereafter, at any convenient
A naval war soon broke out. England, without
warning, seized the ships of Holland in English
ports, and impressed their crews. The Dutch war
fleet was entrusted to Admiral Tromp. He was
enjoined to protect the Dutch vessels from visita-
tion or search by foreign cruisers, and not to strike
his flag to English ships of war. The instructions
of the commanders of the British men of war, were to
compel the ships of all foreign nations whatever, to
strike their colors to the British flag. England thus
set up its arrogant claim to " its undoubted right to
the dominion of the surrounding seas."
The English fleet, under Admiral Blake, met
the Dutch fleet in the Strait of Dover, on the 29th
of May, 1632, and a bloody but undecisive battle en-
sued. A series of terrible naval conflicts followed,
with victory now on the one side and now on the
IS2 PETER STUYVESANT.
other. At length Blake, discomfited, was cotnpel
led to take refuge in the Thames. Admiral Tromp,
rather vain- gloriously, placed a broom at his mast-
head to indicate that he had swept the channel of
all English ships.
In this state of affairs the Directors wrote to
Governor Stuyvesant, saying, " Though we hope
that you have so agreed with the colonists of New
England about boundaries that we have nothing
to fear from them, still we consider it an imperious
duty to recommend you to arm and discipline all
freemen, soldiers and sailors ; to appoint officers and
places of rendezvous ; to supply them with ammuni-
tion ; and to inspect the fortifications at New Am-
sterdam, fort Orange and fort Casimir. To this end
we send you a fresh supply of ammunition.
" If it should happen, which we will not suppose,
that New Englanders incline to take part in these
broils, then we should advise your honor to engage
the Indians in your cause, who, we are informed,
are not partial to the English. You will also em-
ploy all such means of defence as prudence may re-
quire for your security, taking care that the mer-
chants and inhabitants convey their property within
" Treat them kindly, so that they may be encour-
aged to ren>ain there, and to give up the thought of
WAR BET^'/EEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 153
returning to Holland, which would depopulate the
country. It is therefore advisable to inclose the vil-
lages, at least the principal and most opulent, with
breastworks and palisades to prevent surprise."
Looking into the future with prophetic eyes,
which discerned the future glories of the rising
republic, the Directors added, " When these colonies
once become permanently established, when the
ships of New Netherland ride on every part of the
ocean, then numbers, now looking to that coast
with eager eyes, shall be allured to embark for your
This prophecy is now emphatically fulfilled when
often one or two thousand emigrants, from the old
world, land at the Battery in a day. When the
prophecy was uttered. New Amsterdam was a small
straggling village of one story huts, containing about
seven hundred inhabitants. The whole island of
Manhattan belonged in fee to the West India Com-
pany. A municipal government was soon organized,
which about the year 1653, gave birth to the city of
Holland and England were now in open and
deadly warfare. It will hardly be denied by any
one, that England was responsible for the conflict.
The New England colonies wished to avail them-
selves of the opportunity to ivrest New Netherland
154 PETER STUYVESANT.
from the Dutch, and to extend their sway from
Stamford to the Chesapeake. Governor Stuyvesant
perceived his danger. He could be easily over-
powered by the New England colonies. He wrote
very friendly letters to the governors, urging that,
notwithstanding the hostilities between the mothei-
countries, commercial intercourse between the colo-
nies should continue on its former peaceful footing.
At the same time he adopted very vigorous meas-
ures to be prepared for defence should he be
Rumors reached New Amsterdam of active mili-
tary preparations in progress in New England. It
was manifest that some hostile expedition was con-i
templated. Fort Amsterdam was repaired. The
city was enclosed by a ditch and palisade, with a
breastwork extending from the East river to the
North river. The whole body of citizens mounted
guard every night. A frigate in the harbor was
ready at any moment to spread its sails, and its
'■ guns were kept loaded day and night.'' The citi-
zens without exception, were ordered to work upon
the defences, under penalty of fine, loss of citizen-
ship and banishment.
Thus barbaric war came again to mar all the
prosperity of the colony, and to undermine all its
foundations of growth and happiness. The Mohican
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 155
Indians, on the east side of the North river, and
whose territory extended to the Connecticut, were
allies of the English. Uncas, the chief of this
tribe, declared that Governor Stuyvesant was plot-
ting to arm the Narragansetts against New Eng-
land. At the same time nine chiefs from the vicini-
ty of Manhattan, sent a messenger to Stamford,
who said :
" The Dutch governor has earnestly solicited the
Indians in these parts, to kill all the English. But
we have all refused to be hired by him, for the Eng-
lish have done us no harm."
The New England colonists were by no means
satisfied that these charges were true. Veracity
was not an Indian virtue. Cunning was a prominent
trait in their character. An extraordinary meeting
of commissioners was held in Boston, in April, 1655.
Two messengers had been previously sent by the
Massachusetts council, to interrogate three of the
principal Narragansett chiefs, respecting the conduct
of Governor Stuyvesant. They reported at the
meeting, that the Narragansett chiefs utterly denied
that Governor Stuyvesant had ever approached
them with any such proposition. One of them,
Ninigret, said :
" It was winter when I visited the Dutch gov-
ernor. I stood the great part of a winter's day,
TS6 PETER STUYVESANT.
knocking at his door. He would neither open it
nor suffei others to open it, to let me in. I found
no proposal to stir me up against the English, my
Mixam, another of these chiefs, replied, "I do
not know of any plot that is intended by the Dutch
governor against the English, my friends."
The third of the chiefs, who was conferred with,
Pessacus, was still more emphatic in his denial.
" Though I am far away," he said, " from the
governor of the Dutch, I am not willing for the sake
of pleasing the English, to invent any falsehood
The result of these investigations led some to
suppose that individuals among the English had
originated these rumors, and had bribed some of the
Indian chiefs to false charges that they might insti-
gate the governors to send out an expedition for
the capture of New Netherland.
Still the Council was unsatisfied, and retained its
suspicions. Governor Stuyvesant. hearing of the
charges against him, wrote at once to the governors
of Massachusetts and New Haven, unequivocally de-
nying the plot, and offering to come himself to Bos-
ton " to consider and examine what may be charged,
and his answers." Should the Council prefer, he
would send a delegate to Boston, or they might send
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 1 57
delegates to Manhattan to investigate the whole af-
The Council decided to send three commission-
ers, men of note, to Manhattan. At the same time
an army of five hundred men was ordered to be ot^
ganized " for the first expedition," should " God call
the colonies to make war against the Dutch."
The New England agents were hospitably re-
ceived at New Amsterdam. They urged that the
meeting should be held in one of the New England
colonies, where Stuyvesant " should produce evi-
dence to clear himself from the charges against
him." He was to be regarded as guilty until he
proved himself innocent.
The Puritan agents appear to great disadvantage
in the conference which ensued. " They seem to
have visited the Dutch," writes Mr. Brodhead, "as
inquisitors, to collect evidence criminating the
Dutch and to collect no other evidence. And, with
peculiar assurance, they saw no impropriety in re-
quiring the authorities of New Netherland, in their
own capital, to suspend their established rules of
law in favor of those of New England."
Governor Stuyvesant repressed every expression
of impatience, and urged the most friendly over-
tures. It may be said that it was manifestly for his
interest to do so, for the Dutch colonies were quite
158 PETER STUYVESANT.
powerless compared with the united colonies of New
England. The New England agents ungraciously
repelled his advances, and at length abruptly ter-
minated the conference without giving the governor
an opportunity to prove his innocence. At nine
o'clock in the evening they suddenly took leave of
New Amsterdam, declining the most friendly invita-
tions to remain, and " cloaking their sudden depart-
ure under pretence of the day of election to be held
this week at Boston." They left behind them the
following menace :
" The Commissioners conclude their negotiation
by declaring that if you shall offer any injury to
any of the English in these parts, whether by your-
selves or by the Indians, either upon the national
quarrel, or by reason of any differences depending
between the United English Colonies and your-
selves, that, as the Commissioners will do no wrong,
so they may not suffer their countrymen to be op-
pressed upon any such account."
The morning after this unfriendly retirement of
the agents. Governor Stuyvesant dispatched a mes-
senger to Boston, with a letter containing a very full
reply to the grievances of which the New England
colonists complained. In this letter, which bears
the impress of frankness and honesty, he says,
" What your worships lay unto our charge are
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 1 59
false reports and feigned informations. Your hon-
ored messengers might, if they had pleased, have
informed themselves of the truth of this, and might
also have obtained more friendly satisfaction and
security, concerning our real intentions, if they had
pleased to stay a day or two with us, to have heard
and considered further of these articles."
On their way home, the New England agents
stopped at Flushing, Stamford and New Haven, to
collect all the evidence they could against Governor
Stuyvesant. The hearsay stories of the Indians
they carefully picked up. Still the only point ascer-
tained, of any moment was, that Governor Stuyve-
sant had told an Englishman, one Robert Coe, that if
the English attacked him, he should try to get the In-
dians to come to his aid ; and that he had said the
same to William Alford.
This was all the evidence the agents could find
against the governor. He had made these declara-
tions without any purpose of concealment. He had
been instructed to pursue this course by the Am-
sterdam Directors. The New England colonists
had in their Pequod war, set the example of employ-
ing Indian allies. This repulsive feature in the Brit-
ish colonial administration continued until the close
of the war of the Revolution.
Captair John Underbill, an Englishman, who had
l6o PETER STUYVESANT.
obtained considerable renown in the Pequod war
becoming dissatisfied with some ecclesiastical cen-
sure which he had incurred, petitioned Governor
Stuyvesant for permission to reside, with a few other
families in New Netherland, under the protection
of the Dutch, offering to take the oath of allegiance
which was required of all foreigners. His request
was promptly granted. It was the liberal policy of
the Dutch government not to exclude foreigners
from any privileges which the Hollanders themselves
enjoyed. Underbill was now residing at Hempstead,
Long Island. His restless spirit, ever eager for
change, seized upon the present moment as a fitting
opportunity to wrest from the Dutch their portion
of Long Island, and pass it over to his countrymen.
In violation of his oath he issued a treasonable proc-
lamation, in which he said,
" You are called upon to abjure the iniquitous
government of Peter Stuyvesant over the inhabi-
tants residing on Long Island. His rule is too
grievous for any brave Englishman and good chris-
tian to tolerate any longer. All honest hearts that
seek the glory of God and his peace and prosperity,
are exhorted to throw off this tyrannical yoke. Ac-
cept and submit ye then to the Parliament of Eng-
land ; and beware of becoming traitors to one
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. l6l
another for the sake of your own quiet and wel-
This proclamation did not meet with a cordial
response. Underhill fled to Rhode Island. Here
he received from Boston a commission, " to take all
Dutch ships and vessels as shall come into his pow-
er, and to defend himself from the Dutch and all
enemies of the commonwealth of England.''
The report of the agents who had visited Man-
hattan was such that the General Court at Boston
voted that they were not " called upon to make a
present war with the Dutch."
There were eight commissioners from the New
England colonies in Boston. Notwithstanding this
decision of the General Court, six of them were in
favor of instant war. They sent back to Governor
Stuyvesant an abusive and defiant reply, in which
" Your confident denials of the barbarous plot
with which you are charged will weigh httle in the
balance against the evidence, so that we must still
require and seek due satisfaction and security."
The Connecticut colonists were ever looking
with a wistful eye to the rich lands west of them.
The Court at New Haven and that at Hartford sent
messengers to Massachusetts to urge that " by war
if no other means will serve, the Dutch, at and
l62 PETER STUYVESANT.
about the Manhattoes, who have been and still ar«
like to prove injurious, may be removed.'' The
General Court nobly replied, " We cannot act in so
weighty a concernment, as to send forth men to
shed blood, unless satisfied that God calls for it.
And then it must be clear and not doubtful.''
" In speaking of these events Mr. Brodhead says,
"At the annual meeting of the Commissioners, Mas-
sachusetts maintained her proud position with a
firmness which almost perilled the stabiUty of the
confederation. A bitter altercation, between the
representatives of the other colonies and the Gener-
al Court, was terminated by an ambiguous conces-
sion which nevertheless averted hostilities.
" The Connecticut governments seemed animated
by the most vindictive feelings ; and their own recent
historian laments the refusal of the Massachusetts
authorities to bear part in an offensive war against
New Netherland, as an ' indelible stain upon their
honor as men, and upon their morals as christians.' "
There was a strong party in favor of war as the
only means of wresting the magnificent domain of
New Netherland from the Dutch and annexing it to
the New England possessions. The majestic Hud-
son was greatly coveted, as it opened to commerce
vast and unknown regions of the interior.
Hartford and New Haven discussed the question
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 1 63
if they were not strong enough without the aid of
Massachusetts to subdue the Dutch. Stamford and
Fairfield commenced raising volunteers on their own
account, and appointed one Ludlow as their leader.
A petition was sent to the home government, the
Commonwealth over which Oliver Cromwell was
then presiding, praying " that the Dutch be either
removed or, so far, at least, subjected that the colo-
nies may be free from injurious affronts and secured
against the dangers and mischievous effects which
daily grow upon them by their plotting with the
Indians and furnishing them with arms against the
In conclusion they entreated that two or three
frigates be sent out, and that Massachusetts be com-
manded to assist the other colonies to clear the
coast " of a nation with which the English cannot
either mingle or set under their government, nor so
much as live near without danger of their lives and
all their comforts in this world."
To fan this rising flame of animosity against the
Dutch, a rancorous pamphlet was published in Lon-
don, entitled, " The second part of the Amboyna
Tragedy ; or a faithful account of a bloody, treacher-
ous and cruel plot of the Dutch in America, purport-
ing the total ruin and murder of all the English
colonists in New England ; extracted from the
164 PETER STUYVESANT.
various letters lately written from New England to
different merchants in London."
This was indeed an inflammatory pamphlet. The
most violent language was used. The Dutch were
accused of the " devilish project" of trying to rouse
the savages to a simultaneous assault upon all the
New England colonists. The crime was to be per'
petrated on Sunday morning, when they should be
collected in their houses of worship. Men, women
and children were to be massacred, and the buildings
laid in ashes.
The Amsterdam Directors had this " most infa-
mous and lying libel," translated into their own lan-
guage and sent a copy to Governor Stuyvesant and
his council, saying :
" We wish that your honors may see what strata-
gems that nation employs, not only to irritate the
populace, but the whole world if possible and to stir
it up against us."
The position of Governor Stuyvesant had become
exceedingly uncomfortable. He was liable at any
day to have from abroad war's most terrible storm
burst upon him. And the enemy might come in
such force that he would be utterly unable to make
any effectual resistance. On the other hand the
Dutch settlements were composed of emigrants from
all lands. Many Englishmen, dissatisfied with the
WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND HOLLAND. 1 6$
rigid rule of the New England colonies, had taken
their residence in New Netherland.
The arbitrary rule of Stuyvesant was obnoxious
to the majority of his subjects, and they were in-
creasingly clamorous for a more liberal and popular
government. On the i6th of December, 1630, a
very important popular convention was held at New
Amsterdam, composed of delegates from eight
towns. There were nineteen delegates, ten of whom
were Dutch and nine English. Unanimously they
avowed fealty to the government of Holland. But
they remonstrated against the establishment of an
arbitrary government ; and complained that laws
had been enacted without the consent of the people.
" This," said they, " is contrary to the granted
privilege of the Netherland government and odious
to every free-born man ; and especially so to those
whom God has placed in a free state in newly-settled
lands, who are entitled to claim laws not transcend-
ing, but resembling as near as possible those of the
There were several minor offences enumerated
to which we need not here refer. The memorial was
drawn up by an Englishman, George Baxter. The
imperious Stuyvesant was greatly annoyed by this
document. To weaken its effect, he declared that
the delegates had no authority to act or even to
l66 PETER STUYVESANT,
meet upon such questions. He endeavored to rouse
national prejudice against the document by saying
" The most ancient colony of Manhattan, the
colonies of Rensselaerswyck and Staten Island and
the settlements at Beaverswyck and on the South
river are too prudent to subscribe to all that has
been projected by an Englishman ; as if among the
Netherlands' nation there is no one sagacious and
expert enough to draw up a remonstrance to the
Director and council-"
Another Indian War.
Otnflict Between the Governor and the Citizens. — Energy o) th*
Governor. — His Measures of Defence. — Action of the English
Colonies. — Claims of the Government of Sweden. — Fort Casd-
mir captured by the Swedes. — Retaliation. — Measures for the
recapture of Fort Casimir. — Shooting a Squaw. — Its Consequen-
ces. — The Ransom of Prisoners. — Complaints of the Swedish
Governor. — Expedition from Sweden. — Its Fate.
There was a brief but bitter controversy between
the governor and the convention, when the govern-
or ordered the body to disperse, " on pain of our
highest displeasure." " We derive our authority,"
said he, " from God, and from the Company, not
from a few ignorant subjects. And we alone can
call the inhabitants together." These decisive
measures did not stifle the popular voice. Petitions
were sent to the Company in Holland, full of com-
plaints against the administration of Stuyvesant,
and imploring its intervention to secure the redress
of the grievances which were enumerated.
An able man, Francois le Bleuw, was sent to Hol-
land with these documents, with instructions to do
1 68 PETER STUYVESANT.
everything in his power to procure the reforms they
urged. Though the citizens of New Amsterdam
had, for a year, enjoyed a Hmited municipal govern-
ment, they were by no means satisfied with what
they had thus far attained. What they claimed, and
reasonably claimed, were the larger franchises enjoy-
ed by the cities in the fatherland.
The condition of New Netherland, at the com-
mencement of the year 1654, was very precarious.
The troubled times, as is ever the case, had called
out swarms of pirates and robbers, who infested the
shores of Long Island, inflicting the most cruel ex-
cesses upon the unprotected inhabitants. The
English residents in the Dutch colonies were numer
ous, and they were ripe for revolt. The Dutch
themselves were uttering loud murmurs. The gov-
ernor acted with his accustomed energy. Several
vessels were fitted out to act against the pirates.
Many of these pirates professed to be privateersmen,
serving the Commonwealth of Eng'land. It was
suspected that the English residents were commu-
nicating with the freebooters, who were chiefly their
A proclamation was issued prohibiting all per-
sons, under penalty of banishment and the confisca-
tion of goods, from harboring the outlaws. Every
third man was detailed to act as a minute man
ANOIHER INDIAN WAR. I69
whenever required ; and the whole population was
pledged for the public defence. At the same time,
to prevent any misunderstanding, messengers were
sent to Connecticut to inform the colonial authori-
ties there, that these measures were adopted solely
for the protection of their commerce and the pun-
ishment of robbery.
In February of this year, a church was organized
at Flatbush. Domine Polhemus was chosen pastor,
with a salary of six hundred guilders. A cruciform
wooden church was erected, sixty feet long and
twenty-eight feet wide. This was the first Reform-
er Dutch Church on Long Island. The Lutherans
had now become quite numerous in New Amster-
dam. They petitioned for liberty to organize a
church. Stuyvesant, a zealous Calvinist, declined,
saying that he was bound by his oath to tolerate no
other religion openly than the Reformed. In this
intolerance he was sustained by the Company in
Oliver Cromwell now decided to carry the war
against Holland into the New World. He sent
word to the governors of the New England Colo-
nists that he was about to dispatch war ships to the
coasts of America, and he called upon them to give
their utmost assistance for gaining the Manhattoes
«nd other places under the power of the Dutch."
I70 PETER STUYVESANT.
Four armed ships were soon crossing the Atlan-
tic. The expedition was entrusted to Major Sedg-
wick and John Leverett. They were directed to
enter some good port in New England, where they
were to ascertain whether the colonial governments
would join in vindicating the English right and in
extirpating the Dutch.
" Being come to the Manhattoes," wrote secre^
tary Thurlow, " you shall, by surprise, open force, or
otherwise, endeavor to take the place. You have
power to give fair quarter in case it be rendered
upon summons without opposition. If the Lord
give his blessing, you shall not use cruelty to the
inhabitants, but encourage those who are willing to
remain under the English government, and give
\iberty to others to transport themselves to Eu-
Governor Stuyvesant received early intelligence
of the projected expedition, and immediately con-
vened his council. The danger was imminent. The
Dutch alone could oppose but feeble resistance.
The English in the Dutch colony, though they had
sworn allegiance, would probably join their country-
men. " To invite them," Governor Stuyvesant said,
" to aid us, would be bringing the Trojan horse
within our walls." After much anxious deliberation,
it was decided to enlist a force of seventy men,
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. I7I
" silently and without beat of drum," and to lay in
supplies to stand a siege.
The danger roused the spirit of patriotism. The
Dutch rallied with great unanimity and, spade in
hand, worked heartily on the fortifications. They
were all conscious, however, that treason lurked
within their walls.
Several of the New England colonies responded
quite eagerly to the appeal of Cromwell. New
Haven pledged herself to the most zealous efforts
Connecticut promised two hundred men, and even
five hundred rather than that the enterprise should
fail. Plymouth ordered fifty men into the service,
entrusting the command to Captain Miles Standish
and Captain Thomas Willett. It is worthy of notice
that the Plymouth people made an apology for this
action, saying :
" We concur in hostile measures against our
ancient Dutch neighbors only in reference unto the
Massachusetts gave a reluctant consent that five
hundred volunteers against the Dutch should be
raised within their jurisdiction.
Just as the fleet was about to sail from Boston,
on this expedition, the result of which could not be
doubtful, a ship entered the port with the announce-
ment that peace had been concluded between Eng-
172 PETER STUYVESAXT.
land and Holland. This of course put a stop to any
farther hostile action. The welcome news was soon
conveyed to Governor Stuyvesant. He was quite
overjoyed in its reception. The glad tidings were
published from the City Hall, with ringing of bell
and all other public demonstrations of satisfaction.
The 1 2th of August was appointed as a day of
general thanksgiving to God for his great goodness.
In his proclamation, the Governor devoutly ex-
" Praise the Lord, O England's Jerusalem and
Netherland's zion, praise ye the Lord ! IJe hath
secured your gates and blessed your possessions
with peace, even here where the threatened torch of
war was lighted, where the waves reached our lips
and subsided only through the power of the Al-
From this moral conflict, which came so near
being a physical one, Stuyvesant emerged very
victorious. The Company had ever been disposed
to sympathize with him in his measures. The dele-
gate Le Bleuw, who had carried charges against him
to Holland, was almost rudely repulsed, and Wcis
forbidden to return to New Netherland. The
Directors of the Company wrote to the Governor:
" We are unable to discover in the whole remon-
strance one single point to justify complaint. You
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. I73
ought to have acted with more vigor against the
ringleaders of the gang, and not to have conde-
scended to answer protests with protests. It is
therefore our express command that you punish
what has occurred as it deserves, so that others may
be deterred in future, from following such exam-
To the citizens they wrote, " We enjoin it upon
you that you conduct yourselves quietly and peace-
ably, submit yourselves to the government placed
over you, and in no wise allow yourselves to hold
particular convention with the English or others, in
matters of form or deliberation on affairs of state,
which do not appertain to you, or attempt any al-
teration in the state and its government."
A feriy was established to convey passengers
from one side of the river to the other. The li-
censed ferryman was bound to keep suitable boats
and also a lodge on each side of the river to protect
passengers from the weather. The toll established by
law, was for a wagon and two horses one dollar ; for
a wagon and one horse eighty cents ; a savage, male
or female, thirty cents ; each other person fifteen
When Stuyvesant was preparing to defend New
Netherland from the English, he encountered
another great annoyance. It will be remembered
174 PETER STUYVESANT.
that the Swedish government claimed the territory
on the South, or Delaware river, upon which the
Dutch governor had erected Fort Casimir. Gerrit
Bikker was in command of the fort, with a garrison
of twelve men. On the morning of the first of June,
1654, a strange sail was seen in the offing. A small
party was sent out in a boat, to reconnoitre. They
returned with the tidings that it was a Swedish ship
full of people, with a new governor ; and that they
had come to take possession of the place, affirming
that the fort was on land belonging to the Swedish
Bikker with his small garrison, and almost desti-
tute of ammunition, could make no resistance.
Twenty or thirty soldiers landed from the Swedish
ship, entered the open gate of the fort and took
possession of the place. John Rising the com-
mander of the ship, stated that he was obeying the
orders of his government ; that the territory belong-
ed to Sweden, and that neither the States-Gen-
eral of the Netherlands nor the West India Com-
pany had authorized Governor Stuyvesant to erect
a fort upon that spot.
The garrison was disarmed, two shotted guns
were fired over the works in token of their capture,
and the name of the fort was changed to Trinity, as
it was on Trinity Sunday that the fort was taken
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 175
A skilful engineer imnnediately employed many
hands in strengthening the ramparts. The region
was called New Sweden, and John Rising assumed
his office as governor. Courteously he sent word
to Governor Stuyvesant of his arrival and of his cap-
ture of the forts. He also summoned the chiefs of
the neighboring tribes and entered into a treaty of
friendship with them. Within a month he announc-
ed to the home government that the population of
New Sweden had risen to three hundred and sixty-
eight. " I hope," he added, " we may be able to
preserve them in order and in duty, and to constrain
them if necessary. I will do in this respect, all that
depends upon me. We will also endeavor to shut
up the river."
Governor Stuyvesant was very indignant, in view
of what he deemed the pusillanimous conduct of
Bikker in " this dishonorable surrender of the fort."
It was in vain for him to attempt its recovery. But
with an eagle eye and an agitated mind he watched
for an opportunity to retaliate.
About the middle of September, a Swedish ship,
the Golden Shark, bound for the Delaware river, un-
der command of Captain Elswy-k, entered Sandy
Hook and anchored behind Staten Island. The
captain had made a mistake and supposed that he
had entered the mouth of South river. Discovering
1/6 PETER STUYVESANT.
his error, he sent a boat up to Manhattan for a pi-
Stuyvesant's long-looked-for hour had come,
lie arrested the boat's crew, and sent them all to
the guard-house. He also seized the Shark and
transferred her cargo to the Company's magazine on
shore. He then sent a courteous message to Gov-
ernor Rising, at New Sweden, inviting him to visit
New Amsterdam, " to arrange and settle some un-
expected differences." He promised him a hospita-
ble reception, but declared that he should detain the
Swedish ship and cargo, " until a reciprocal restitu-
tion shall have been made.'' Governor Rising declin-
ed the invitation, not deeming it judicious to place
himself so effectually in the power of his impetuous
Upon the capture of fort Casimir, Governor Stuy-
vesant had immediately sent word of the occurrence
to the Amsterdam Directors. In November he
received their reply. It was, in brief, as follows:
"We hardly know whether we are more aston-
ished at the audacious enterprise of the Swedes in
taking our fort on the South river, or at the cowardly
surrender of it by our commander, which is nearly
insufferable. He has acted very unfaithfully, yea
treacherously. We entreat you to exert everj' nfirve
to avenge that injury, not only by restoring affairs
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. \^J^
to their former situation, but by driving the Swedes
from every side of the river. We have put in conn,
mission two armed ships, the King Solomon and the
Great Christopher. The drum is beaten daily in the
streets of Amsterdam for volunteers. And orders
are given for the instant arrest of Bikker.
Stuyvesant adopted vigorous measures to co-
operate with the little fleet upon its arrival, in its
warfare against New Sweden. The 25th of August,
1655, was set apart as a day of fasting and prayer,
" to implore the only bountiful God, that it may
please him to bless the projected enterprise, under-
taken only for the greater security, extension and
consolidation of this province, and to render it pros-
perous and successful to the glory of his name."
Enlistments were pushed with great energy.
Three North river vessels were chartered, pilots were
engaged and provisions and ammunition laid in
store. A French privateer, L'Esperance, which
chanced to enter the harbor of New Amsterdam at
this time, was also engaged for the service.
It seems hardly consistent with the religious
character of Stuyvesant and with his prayers for the
divine blessing, that the Lord's day should have been
chosen for the saihng of the expedition. But on
the first Sunday in September, after the morning
sermcm, the sails of the little squadron of seven
178 PETER STUYVESANT.
vessels were unfurled and the fleet put to sea, con-
taining a military force of about seven hundred men.
Governor Stuyvesant in person, commanded the
expedition. He was accompanied by the Vice-Gov-
ernor, De Lille, and by Domine Megapolensis, as
On Friday morning they entered the Delaware
river, and with favoring wind and tide, sailed up
beyond fort Casimir, and landed their forces about a
mile above. A flag of truce was promptly sent to
the fort, demanding " the direct restitution of our
own property.'' Some parleying occupied the time
during the day, while Stuyvesant was landing his
batteries. The next morning the Swedish com-
mander, convinced of the folly of any further
attempt at resistance, went on board the Balance
and signed a capitulation. The victor was generous
in his terms. The Swedes were allowed to remove
their artillery; twelve men were to march out with
full arms and accoutrements ; all the rest retained
their side-arms, and the officers held their personal
At noon the Dutch, with pealing bugles and fly-
ing banners again entered upon possession of the
fort. Many of the Swedes took the oath of allegi-
ance to the New Netherland government. The
next day was Sunday. Chaplain Megapolensi*
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 1 79
preached a sermon to the troops. But a short dis-
tance above fort Casimir there was another Swedish
fort called Christina. It was not denied that the
Swedes had a legitimate title to that land. Indeed
after the Company in Holland had sent directions to
Stuyvesant to drive the Swedes from the river, they
sent to him another order modifying these instruc-
tions. In this dispatch they said :
"You may allow the Swedes to hold the land
on which fort Christina is built, with a garden to
cultivate the tobacco, because it appears that they
made this purchase with the previous consent of
the Company, provided said Swedes will conduct
themselves as good subjects of our government.''
But the Swedish Governor, Rising, having lost
fort Casimir, re-assembled his forces and strengthen-
ed his position in Fort Christina, which was two
miles farther up the river. This fort was about
thirty-five miles below the present site of Philadel-
phia, on a small stream called Christina creek. The
fleet anchored at the mouth of the Brandywine, and
invested the fort on all sides. The Swedes outside
of the fort were ruthlessly pillaged ; a battery was
erected and the fort summoned to surrender. Re-
sistance was hopeless. The articles of capitulation
were soon signed between the victor and the var»
l8o PETER STUYVESANT.
" The Swedes marched out with their arms, col-
ors flying, matches lighted, drums beating and fifes
playing ; and the Dutch took possession of the fort,
hauled down the Swedish flag and hoisted their
The Swedes, who to the number of about two
hundred had settled in that vincinity, were allowed
to remain in the country, if they wished to do so,
upon condition of taking the oath of allegiance to
the Dutch authorities. Thus the Swedish domin-
ion on the South river was brought to an end. This
was the most powerful military expedition which
had ever moved from any of the colonies. The
Swedes had held their independent position on the
Delaware but about seventeen years. Leaving an
agent, as temporary commandant, Stuyvesant re-
turned triumphantly to fort Amsterdam.
And now for ten years there had been peace
with the Indians, when a gross outrage again roused
their savage natures to revenge. The Indians, ever
accustomed to roam the forest, and to gather fruits,
nuts and game wherever they could find them, had
not very discriminating views of the rights of pri-
vate property. Ensign Van Dyck, the former treas-
urer, and one of the most noted men in the colony,
detected an Indian woman in his orchard gathering
peaches. Inhumanly he shot her dead. This rous
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. l8l
ed all the neighboring tribes, and they united to
avenge her death. There was certainly something
chivalrous in this prompt combination of the war-
riors not to allow, what they deemed the murder of
a sister, to pass unpunished.
Taking advantage of the absence of Governor
Stuyvesant, with nearly all the military force he
could raise, on his expedition to the South river,
sixty-four war canoes, containing nineteen hundred
armed Indians, were at midnight on the fifteenth of
September, stealthily paddled into the waters sur-
rounding fort Amsterdam. They were picked war-
riors from eight tribes. The night was dark, and
the sighing of the wind through the^tree tops and
the breaking of the surf upon the beach added to
the deep repose of the sleepers.
The Indians landed and stealthily crept through
the silent streets ; and yet, from some unexplained
cause, they made no attack. Gradually the inhabi-
tants were awakened, and there was a rapid assem-
bling of the principal men within the fort. Several
of the ckkfs were called before them. They
gave no satisfactory account of the object of their
formidable visit, and uttered no threats. On the
contrary they promised to withdraw before night,
to Nutten Island, as Governor's island was then
called. Still, watching their opportunity, one of tho
1 82 PETER STUYVESANT,
warriors pierced the Jaosom of Van Dyck with an
The cry of murder rang through the streets.
The inhabitants were prepared for the not unexpect-
ed emergency. The military rushed from the
fort, and a fierce battle ensued. The Indians, leav-
ing three of their warriors dead in the streets, and
having killed five white men and wounded three
others, were driven to their canoes, and crossed over
the North river to the Jersey shore.
And now their savage natures burst forth unre-
strained. The flourishing little villages of Pavonia
and Hoboken were instantly in flames. A general
scene of massacre and destruction ensued. Men,
women and children fell alike before the bullet, the
arrow and the tomahawk. The inhabitants of fort
Amsterdam in anguish witnessed the massacre, but
could render no assistance. Nearly all their armed
men were far away on the Delaware.
The savages, elated with success, crossed over to
Staten island. The scattered settlements there
numbered about ninety souls. There were eleven
farms in a high state of cultivation, and several
plantations. The settlers had received warning of
their danger, perhaps by the flames and musketry
of Hoboken and Pavonia, perhaps by some messen-
ger from fort Amsterdam. Sixty-seven of them
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 1 83
succeeded in reaching some stronghold where they
•"vere able to defend themselves. The rest, twenty-
three in number, were cut off by the savages. The
buildings of twenty-eight farms and plantations
were laid in ashes and the crops destroyed.
For three days these merciless Indians had free
range, with scarcely any opposition. During this
time one hundred of the Dutch were killed, one
hundred and fifty were taken prisoners, and more
than three hundred were deprived of house, clothes
and food. Six hundred cattle and a vast amount of
grain were destroyed. The pecuniary value of the
damage inflicted amounted to over eighty thousand
Such were the consequences which resulted from
the folly and crime of one man in shooting an Indian
woman who was purloining peaches from his orchard.
Terror spread far and wide. The farmers with their
families, fled from all directions to fort Amsterdam
for protection. The feeble settlements on Long
island were abandoned in dismay. Prowling bands
of savages wandered over the island of Manhattan,
burning and destroying. No one dared to venture
to any distance from the fort. An express was dis-
patched to South river to inform Governor Stuyve-
sant of the peril of the colony, and to implore his
return. This led to the hurried close of the trajsfeac-
1 84 PETER STUYVESANT.
tions on the Delaware, and probably secured for the
Swedes more favorable terms of capitulation than
they would otherwise have obtained.
The return of Governor Stuyvesant with his
military force, reassured the colonists. In such an
hour his imperious nature hesitated not a moment
in assuming the dictatorship. The one man power,
so essential on the field of battle, seemed requisite
in these scenes of peril. There was no time for
deliberation. Prompt and energetic action was
The governor sent soldiers to the outer settle-
ments ; forbade any vessel to leave the harbor, forced
into the ranks every man capable of bearing arms,
and imposed a heavy tax to meet the expense of
strengthening the fortifications. Several persons,
who were about to sail for Europe, protested against
being thus detained. Governor Stuyvesant fined
them each ten dollars for disrespect to the establish-
ed authorities, and contemptuously advised them to
" possess their souls in patience."
The savages found their captives an incumbrance.
Winter was approaching and provisions were scarce.
They sent one of their prisoners, an influential man,
captain Pos, who had been superintendent of the
colony on Staten island, to propose the ransom of
those captured for a stipulated amount of powder
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 1 85
and balls. As captain Pos did not return as soon as
was expected, another messenger was sent, and soon
one of the chiefs returned to Governor Stuyvesant,
fourteen Dutch men, women a^id children, as a
present in token of his good will, and asking that a
present of powder and ball might be forwarded to
The governor sent in return some ammunition
and two Indian captives and promised to furnish
more ammunition when other christians should be
Three envoys from New Amsterdam visited the
savages bearing these presents. They were received
with the courtesies which civilized nations accord to
a flag of truce. In this way twenty-eight more
captives were ransomed. The promise was given
that others should be soon brought in. Governor
Stuyvesant inquired at what price they would release
all the remaining prisoners en masse, or what they
would ask for each individual. They deliberated
upon the matter and then replied that they would
deliver up twenty-eight prisoners for seventy-eight
pounds of powder, and forty staves of lead.
The governor immediately sent the amount, and
hoping to excite their generosity, added as a present
in token of friendly feeling, thirty-five pounds of
powder and ten staves of lead. But the savages did
1 86 PETER STUYVESANT.
not appreciate this kindness. They returned the
twenty-eight prisoners and no more.
The governor of the Swedish colony on the
Delaware arrived at New Amsterdam with a numer-
ous suite, awaiting their transportation to Europe
according to the terms of the capitulation. He was
in very ill humor, and Governor Stuyvesant found it
impossible to please him. He entered bitter com-
plaints against the governor, declaring that the
articles of the late treaty had been grossly violated.
''In Christina," said he, "the women were vio-
lently driven out of their houses. The oxen, cows
and other animals were butchered. Even the horses
were wantonly shot. The whole country was deso-
lated. Your men carried off even my own property,
and we were left without means of defence against
the savages. No proper accommodations have been
provided for me and my suite at New Amsterdam,
and our expenses have not been defrayed."
With much dignity Governor Stuyvesant vindi-
cated himself. " I offered," he said, " to leave fort
Christina in your possession, but you refused it. I
am not responsible for any property for which I have
not given a receipt. On account of your high
station, I offered more than once to entertain you in
my own house. As this did not satisfy you, you
were induced to reside in one (f the principal houses
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 18/
of the city. There you indulged in unmannerly
threats that you would return and destniy this place.
This so annoyed the people of the house that, for
peace sake, they abandoned their lodgings.
" The rumors of these threats reached the ears
of the captains of the small vessels, and the passen-
gers with whom you were to embark. They did not
deem it safe to take you and your suite, with such
a large number of dependents. They feared to land
you in England or France, unless they should chance
to meet some English or French vessel in the Chan-
nel. We entered into no obligation to defray your
expenses or those of your unusual suite.''
Soon after this Governor Rising and his attend-
ants were embarked for Europe in two vessels. A
narrative was, at the same time, sent to the father-
land of the recent Indian troubles. The defence-
less condition of the country was explained and as-
sistance earnestly implored.
There were still a number of captives held by the
Indian tribes who dwelt among the Highlands,
The question was anxiously deliberated, in the
Council, respecting the best mode of recovering them.
One only. Van Tienhoven, was in favor of war. But
Governor Stuyvesant said,
" The recent war is to be attributed to the rash,
ness of a few hot-hea'ded individuals. It beconiei
1 88 PETER STUYVESANT.
us to reform ourselves, to abstain from all that is
wrong, and to protect our villages with proper de-
fences. Let us build block-houses wherever they
are needed and not permit any armed Indian to en-
ter the European settlements."
The Long Island Indians sent a delegation to
New Amsterdam declaring that for ten years, since
1645, they had been the friends of the Dutch, and
had done them no harm, " not even to the value of
a dog." They sent, as a present, a bundle of wam-
pum in token of the friendship of the chiefs of the
Eastern tribes. But the up-river Indians continued
sullen. With their customary cunning or sagacity
they retained quite a number of captives, holding
them as pledges to secure themselves from the ven-
geance of the Dutch. There was no hope of libera-
ting them by war, since the Indians would never de-
liver up a white captive in exchange for prisoners
of their own tribes. And upon the first outbreak of
war the unfortunate Dutch prisoners would be con-
veyed to inaccessible depths of the forests.
The Dutch settlers had scattered widely, on
farms and plantations. Thus they were peculiarly
exposed to attacks from the Indians, and could ren-
der each other but little assistance. As a remedy
for this evil, Governor Stuj'vesant issued a procla-
mation ordering all who lived in secluded places
ANOTHER INDIAN WAR. 189
in the country to assemble and unite themselves
in villages before the ensuing spring, " after the
fashion," as he said, "of our New England neigh-
In Sweden, before the tidings of the fall of fort
Casimir had reached that country, an expedition
had been fitted out for the South river, conveying
one hundred and thirty emigrants. Stuyvesant, on
learning of their arrival, forbade them to land. He
dispatched a vessel and a land force, to capture the
Swedish ship the Mercury, and bring it with all the
passengers to fort Amsterdam. Having disposed of
her cargo, the vessel and all the Swedish soldiers it
bore, were sent back to Europe.
In obedience to orders froin home, Stuyvesant
erected a fort at Oyster Bay, on the north side of
Long island. In the instructions he received he was
enjoined, " to maintain, by force, if necessary, the in-
tegrity of the Dutch province, the boundaries of
which have just been formally confirmed by the
The Directors added, "We do not hesitate to
approve of your expedition on the South river, and
its happy termination. We should not have been
displeased, however, if such a formal capitulation for
the surrender of the forts had not taken place, but
that the whole business had been transacted in a
igo PETER STUYVESANT.
manner similar to that of which the Swedes set us
an example when they made themselves masters of
An Energetic Administration.
Ffew Amsterdam in 1656. — Religious Intolerance. — Persecution el
the Waldenses. — The New Colony on South river. — Wreck of
the Prince Maurice. — The Friendly Indians. — Energetic Actien
of the Governor. — Persecution of the Quakers. — Remonstrance
from Flushing. — The Desolation of Staten Island. — Purchase of
Bergen. — Affairs at Esopus. — The Indian Council. — Generosity
of the Indians. — New Amstel. — Encroachments of the English.
War would doubtless have arisen, between
Sweden and Holland, in view of transactions on
South river, had not all the energies of Sweden been
then called into requisition in a war with Poland.
The Swedish government contented itself with pre-
senting a vigorous memorial to the States-General,
which for eight years was renewed without accom-
plishing any redress.
The vice-governor resided at fort Orange, in a
two story house, the upper floor of which was used
as a court-room. This station was the principal
mart for the fur trade, which had now become so
considerable that upwards of thirty-five thousand
beaver skins were exported during the year 1656.
A survey of the city of New Amsterdam was
IQ2 PETER STUYVESANT.
made this year, which showed that there were one
hundred and twenty houses, and a population of one
thousand souls. A man like Stuyvesant, the warm
advocate of arbitrary power, would almost of neces-
sity, be religiously intolerant. Zealously devoted to
the Reformed church, and resolved to have unity
in religion, notwithstanding the noble toleration
which existed in Holland, he issued a proclamation
forbidding any one from holding a religious meet-
ing not in harmony with the Reformed church.
Any preacher, who should violate this ordinance
was to be subjected to a penalty of one hundred
pounds. Any one who should attend such a meet-
ing was to be punished by a penalty of twenty-five
This law was rigorously enforced. Recusants
were fined and imprisoned. Complaints were sent
to Holland, and the governor was severely rebuked
for his bigotry.
" We would fain," the Directors wrote to Stuy-
vesant, " not have seen your worship's hand set to
the placard against the Lutherans, nor have heard
that you oppressed them with the imprisonments
of which the)' have complained to us. It has always
been our intention to let them enjoy all calmness
and tranquillity. Wherefore you will not hereafter
publish any similar placards, without our previous
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. I93
consent, but allow all the free exercise of their reli-
gion within their own houses."
But Stuyvesant was a man born to govern, not
be governed. He was silent respecting the instruc-
tions he had received from home. When the Luther-
ans informed him that the Directors of the Com-
pany had ordered that the same toleration should
exist in New Netherland which was practiced in the
fatherland, he firmly replied that he must wait for fur-
ther explanations, and that in the mean time his ordin-
ance against public conventicles must be executed.
At Flushing a cobbler from Rhode Island, a bap-
tist, William Wickendam by name, ventured to
preach, " and even went with the people into the
river and dipped them." He was fined one thou-
sand pounds and ordered to be banished. As he
was a poor man the debt was remitted, but he was
obliged to leave the province.
It will be remembered that thus far nearly all
the operations of the Dutch, in the New World, had
been performed under the authority of Dutch mer-
chants, called "The West India Company." Their
chartered powers were very great. Only in a sub-
ordinate degree were they subject to the control of
At this time there was a very cruel persecution
commenced by the Duke of Savoy against the Wal-
194 PETER STUYVESANT.
denses. Hundreds of them fled to the city of
Amsterdam, in Holland, which was then the refuge
for the persecuted of all nations. They were received
with the most noble hospitality. The city govern-
ment not only gave them an asylum, but voted large
sums from its treasury, for their support.
Carrying out this policy, the city decided to es-
tablish a colony of its own in New Netherland, to
be composed mainly of these Waldenses. The
municipal authorities purchased of the West India
Company, for seven hundred guilders, all the land
on the west side of South river, from Christina kill
to Bombay Hook. This gave a river front of about
forty miles, running back indefinitely into the
interior. This region was named New Amstel.
The colonists were offered a free passage, ample
farms on the river, and provisions and clothing for
one year. The city also agreed to send out "a
proper person for a schoolmaster, who shall also read
the holy Scriptures in public and set the Psalms."
A church was to be organized so soon as there were
two hundred inhabitants in the colony.
The Company wrote to Stuyvesant saying, " The
confidence we feel about the success and increase of
this new colony of which we hope to see some
prominent features next spring, when to all appear-
ance, large numbers of the exiled Waldenses will
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 195
flock thither, as to an asylum, induces us to send you
orders to endeavor to purchase of the Indians, before
it can be accomplished by any other nation, all that
tract of land situated between the South river and
the Hook of the North river, to provide estabhsh-
ments for these emigrants."
On Christmas day of 1656, three vessels contain-
ing one hundred and sixty emigrants, sailed from
the Texel. A wintry storm soon separated them.
The principal ship, the Prince Maurice, which had
the largest number of passengers, after a long voy-
age, was wrecked on the South coast of Long island,
near Fire island inlet, in the neighborhood of the
present town of Islip. It was midnight when the
ship struck. As soon as it was light the passengers
and crew succeeded in reaching the shore in their
boats through the breakers and through vast masses
of floating ice.
They found upon the shore a bleak, barren, tree-
less waste, " without weeds, grass or timber of any
sort to make a fire." It was bitter cold. A fierce
wind swept the ocean and the land, and the sea ran
so high that it was expected every moment the ship
would go to pieces. These poor emigrants thus
suddenly huddled upon the icy land, without food
and without shelter, were in imminent peril of per-
ishing from cold and starvation.
196 PETER STUYVESANT.
Their sufferings were so terrible that they were
rejoiced to see some Indians approaching over the
wide plains, though they knew not whether the
savages would prove hostile or friendly. But the
Indians came like brothers, aided them in every way,
and dispatched two swift runners across the island
to inform Governor Stuyvesant of the calamity.
Some sails were brought on shore, with which a
temporary shelter from the piercing blast was con-
structed, and enough food was secured to save from
The energetic governor immediately dispatched
nine or ten lighters to their assistance, and with
needful supplies proceeded in person to the scene
of the disaster. Thus nearly all the cargo was
saved and the passengers were transported to New
Amsterdam. There were one hundred and twenty-
five passengers on board the Prince Maurice,
seventy-six of whom were women and children.
Another ship, the Gilded Beaver, was chartered at
New Amsterdam which conveyed them all safely,
after a five days' passage, to South river. The other
vessels, with soldiers and a few settlers, also soon
It is said that at this time the " public," exercis-
es of religion were not allowed to any sects in Hol-
land except the Calvinists, But all others were per-
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. I97
mitted to engage freely in their worship in private
houses, which were in fact, as if public, these places
of preaching being spacious and of sufficient size for
any assembly. Under this construction of the law
every religion was in fact tolerated.*
The Lutherans in Hollaud sent a clergyman,
Ernestus Goetwater, to New Amsterdam, to organize
a church. The Directors wrote, " It is our intention
to permit every one to have freedom within his
own dwelling, to serve God in such manner as his
religion requires, but without authorizing any pub-
lic meetings or conventicles."
This tolerance, so imperfect in the light of the
nineteenth century, was very noble in the dark days
of the seventeenth. Upon the arrival of Goetwater
at New Amsterdam, the clergy of the Reformed
church remonstrated against his being permitted to
preach. The governor, adhering to his policy of
bigotry, forbade him to hold any meeting, or to do
any clerical service, but to regulate his conduct ac-
cording to the placards of the province against pri-
vate conventicles. Soon after this the governor
ordered him to leave the colony and to return to
Holland. This harsh decree was however suspend-
ed out of regard to the feeble health of Goetwater.
On the 6th of August, 1657, a ship arrived at
• History of New Netherland by E. B. O'CaUaghan, Vol 2. p. 317
198 PETER STUYVESANT.
New Amsterdam with several Quakers on board
Two of them, women, began to preach publicly in
the streets. They were arrested and imprisoned.
Soon after they were discharged and embarked on
board a ship to sail through Hell Gate, to Rhode Isl-
and, " where," writes Domine Megapolensis, " all
kinds of scum dwell, for it is nothing else than a
sink for New England.''
One of the Quakers, Robert Hodgson, went
over to Long Island. At Hempstead he was arrest-
ed and committed to prison, and was thence trans-
ferred to one of the dungeons of fort Amsterdam.
He was brought before the Council, convicted of the
crime of preaching contrary to the law, and was sen-
tenced to pay a fine of six hundred guilders, about
two hundred and forty dollars, or to labor two years
at a wheelbarrow, with a negro.
After a few days' imprisonment he was chained
to the wheelbarrow and commanded tv work. He
refused. A negro was ordered to beat nim with a
tarred rope, which he did until the sufferer fell, in
utter exhaustion, almost senseless to the ground.
The story of the persecutions which this unhappy
man endured, is almost too dreadful to be told.
But it ought to be told as a warning against all re*
" Not satisfied," writes O'Callaghan, " his perse
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. igg
cutors had him hfted up. The negro again beat
him until he fell a second time, after receiving, as
was estimated, one hundred blows. Notwithstand-
ing all this, he was kept, in the heat of the sun,
chained to the wheelbarrow, his body bruised and
swollen, faint from want of food, until at length he
could no longer support himself and he was obliged
to sit down.
" The night found him again in his cell, and the
morrow at the wheelbarrow, with a sentinel over
him, to prevent all conversation. On the third day
he was again led forth, chained as before. He still
refused to work, for he " had committed no evil."
He was then led anew before the director-general,
who ordered him to work, otherwise he should be
whipt every day. He was again chained to the
barrow and threatened, if he should speak to any
person, with more severe punishment. But not be-
ing able to keep him silent, he was taken back to his
dungeon, where he was kept several days, " two
nights and one day and a half of which without
bread or water."
" The rage of persecution was still unsatiated.
He was now removed to a private room, stripped to
his waist, and then hung up to the ceiling by his
hands, with a heavy log of wood tied to his feet, so
that he could not turn his body. A strong negro
200 PETER STUYVESANT.
then commenced lashing him with rods until his
flesh was cut in pieces. Now let down, he was
thrown again into his loathsome dungeon, where he
was kept ten days, in solitary confinement, after
which he was brought forth to undergo a repetition
of the same barbarous torture. He was now kept
like a slave to hard work."
His case eventually excited so much compassion
that Stuyvesant's sister interfered, and implored her
brother so importunately that he was at last induced
to liberate the unfortunate man. Let a firm
Quaker resolve that he will not do something, and
let a Governor Stuyvesant resolve that "he shall do
it, and it is indeed " Greek meeting Greek."
Henry Townsend, of Jamaica, ventured to hold
prayer-meetings in his house, in defiance of the
ordinance against conventicles. The governor sen
tenced him to pay a fine of eight pounds and to
leave the province within six weeks, under pain of
corporeal punishment. This sentence was followed
by a proclamation, fining any one fifty pounds who
should entertain a Quaker for a single night, and
confiscating any vessels which should bring a Quake:
to the province.
The inhabitants of Flushing, where Townsena
had formerly resided, and where he was very highly
respected, issued a noble remonstrance to Governor
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 201
Stuyvesant against this persecution of their former
The remonstrance was drawn up by the town
clerk, Edward Hart, and was signed by all the adult
male inhabitants, twenty-nine in number. The
memorial said :
" We are commanded by the law of God to do
good unto all men. The law of love, peace and
liberty, extending in the state to Jews, Turks and
Egyptians, forms the glory of Holland. So love,
peace and liberty extending to all in Christ Jesus,
condemn hatred, war and bondage. We desire not
to offend one of Christ's little ones under whatever
form, name or title he may appear, whether Presby-
terian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker. On the
contrary we desire to do to all as we could wish all
to do to us. Should any of those people come in
love among us, we cannot lay violent hands upon
them. We must give them free ingress and egresj
into our houses."
This remonstrance was carried to New Amster-
dam by Tobias Feake, and presented to the gov-
ernor. His indignation was roused. Feake was
arrested and committed to prison. The sheriff was
sent to Flushing to bring Hart and two of the magis-
. trates, Farrington and Noble, to the presence of the
enraged governor. It was a fearful thing to fall into
202 PETER STUYVESANT.
his hands when his wrath was inflamed. They were
imprisoned for some time, and were then released
upon their humbly imploring the pardon of the gov-
ernor, expressing their deep regret that they had
signed the remonstrance and promising that they
would sin in that way, no more. The town itself
was punished by the prohibition in future of all town
meetings, without the permission of the governor.
Indeed the mass of the settlers were no longer to
decide upon their local affairs, but a committee of
seven persons was to decide all such questions. All
who were dissatisfied with these arrangements were
ordered to sell their property and leave the town.
It is not necessary to continue the record of this
disgraceful persecution. The governor was unre-
lenting. Whoever ventured to oppose his will felt
the weight of his chastising hand.
New Amsterdam consisted of wooden houses
clustered together. The danger from fire was very
great. The governor imposed a tax of a beaver
skin, or its equivalent upon each householder to pay
for two hundred and fifty leather fire buckets and
hooks and ladders, to be procured in Holland. He
also established a " rattle watch" to traverse the
streets from nine o'clock in the evening until morn-
Stuyv'csant would allow nothing to be done
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 203
which he did not control. The education of the
young was greatly neglected. Jacob Corlaer open-
ed a school. The governor peremptorily closed it,
because he had presumed to take the office without
governmental permission. To establish a place of
amusement the governor formed a village called
Haarlem, at the northern extremity of Manhattan
island. He also constructed a good road over the
island, through the forest, " so that it may be made
easy to come hither, and return to that village on
horseback or in a wagon.'' A feiry was also estab-
lished to Long Island.
Staten Island was a dreary waste. It had not
recovered from the massacre of 1655. Efforts were
made to encourage the former settlers to return to
their desolated homes, and to encourage fresh colo-
nists to take up their residence upon the island.
To promote the settlement of the west side of the
North river, Stuyvesant purchased from the In-
dians, all the territory now known as Bergen, in New
This purchase comprised the extensive region,
" beginning from the great rock above Wiehackan,
and from there right through the land, until above
the island Sikakes, and from there to the Kill van
Col, and so along to the Constables Hook, and
thence again to the rock above Wiehackan."
204 PETER STUYVESANT.
The settlement at Esopus, was in many respects
in a flourishing condition. But it was so much more
convenient for the farmers to have their dwellings in
the midst of the fields they cultivated, instead of
clustering them together in a compact village, that
they persisted in the dangerous practice, notwith-
standing all the warnings of the governor. There
were individuals also who could not be restrained
from paying brandy to the savages for their peltries
The intoxicated Indians often committed outrages.
One of the settlers was killed. The house and out-
buildings of another were burned. The Dutch re-
taliated by destroying the cornfields of the Indians,
hoping thus to drive them to a distance. At this
time, in May, 1658, there were about seventy colo-
nists at Esopus. They had widely extended fields
of grain. But the Indians were becoming daily more
inimical, and the alarmed colonists wrote to Govern
or Stuyvesant, saying,
" We pray you to send forty or fifty soldiers to
save Esopus, which, if well settled, might supply the
whole of New Netherland with provisions."
The governor ordered a redoubt to be built at
Esopus, sent an additional supply of ammunition,
and taking fifty soldiers with him, went up the river
to ascertain, by a personal investigation, the wants
of the people. He urged them strenuously to unite
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 205
in a village, which could be easily palisaded, and
which would thus afford them complete protection.
The colonists objected that it would be very diffi-
cult to remove from their farms, while their crops
were ungathered, and that it would be impossible to
select a site for the village which would please all.
The governor refused to leave the soldiers with
them unless they would immediately decide to con-
centrate in a village. In that case he would remain
and aid them in constructing the palisade till it
should be completed.
In the mean time messengers were sent to all
the neighboring chiefs inviting them to come to Eso-
pus to meet " the grand sachem from Manhattan."
Sixty of these plumed warriors were soon assem-
bled, with a few women and children. The gov-
ernor, with two followers and an interpreter, met
them beneath the widespread branches of an
aged tree. One of the chiefs opened the interview
by a long speech, in which he recounted all the inju-
ries which he conceived that the Indians had expe-
rienced from the foreigners. The governor listened
patiently. He then replied,
" These events occurred, as you well know, before
my time. I am not responsible for them. Has any
injury been done you sirce I came into the country?
Your chiefs have asked us, over and over again, to
206 PETER STUYVESANT.
make a settlement among them. We have not had
a foot of your land without paying for it. We do
not desire to have any more without making you
full compensation. Why then have you committed
this murder, burned our houses and killed our cat-
tle? And why do you continue to threaten our
people ? "
There was a long pause, as though the chiefs
were meditating upon the answer which should be
made. Then one of them rose and, with great de-
liberation and dignity of manner, said,
"You Swannekins," for that was the name they
gave the Dutchmen, " have sold our children drink.
We cannot then control them, or prevent them from
fighting. This murder has not been committed by
any of our tribe, but by a Minnisinck, who now skulks
among the Haverstraws. 'Twas he who fired the two
houses and then fled. We have no malice. We do
not wish to fight. But we cannot control our young
men after you have sold them drink.''
The best of the argument thus far, was manifest-
ly with the Indians. The irascible governor lost
his temper. " If any of your young savages," said
he, " want to fight, let them come on. I will place
man against man. Nay, I will place twenty against
forty of your hotheads. It is not manly to threaten
farmers and women and children who are not war
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 20/
riors. If this be not stopped I shall be compelled
to retaliate on old and young, women and children.
I expect of you that you will repair all damages and
seize the murderer if he come among you.
" The Dutch are now to live together in one
spot. It is desirable that you should sell us the
whole of the Esopus land and move farther into the
interior. It is not well for you to reside so near the
Swannekins. Their cattle may eat your corn and
thus cause fresh disturbance."
The Council was closed with professions of friend-
ship on both sides. The Indians promised to take
the suggestions of the governor into careful consid-
eration. The settlers also decided to adopt the
counsel of the governor. They agreed unanimous-
ly to form themselves into a village, leaving it v/ith
Governor Stuyvesant to select the site. He chose
a spot at the bend of the creek, where three sides
would be surrounded by water. Two hundred and
ten yards of palisades formed the sufficient enclooure.
All hands now went to work energetically.
While thus employed a band of Indian warriors, in
their most showy attire, was seen approaching. It
was feared that they were on the war path, and the
soldiers immediately stood to their arms. It is un-
deniable that the Indians seemed ever disposed to
cherish kindly feelings when justly tre«ted.
208 PETER STUYVESANT.
These kind hearted savages fifty in number, not-
withstanding all the wrongs which they had endur-
ed, came forward and one of them, addressing the
In token of our good will, and that we have laid
aside all malice, we request the Grand Sachem to ac-
cept as a free present, the land on which he has
commenced his settlement. We give it to grease
his feet, as he has undertaken so long and painful a
journey to visit us."
The labor of three weeks completed the de-
fences. The buildings were reared within the enclos-
ure. A strong guard-house, sixteen feet by twen-
ty-three, was built in the northeast corner of the vil-
lage. A bridge was thrown across the creek, and
temporary quarters were erected for the soldiers.
The energetic governor having accomplished all
this in a month, left twenty-four soldiers behind
him to guard the village, and returned to Manhat
In T658, the little settlement of New Amstel
presented quite a flourishing appearance. It had
become a goodly town of about one hundred houses,''
containing about five hundred inhabitants. As many
of these were Waldenses, Swedes and emigrants
from other nationalities, they seemed to think them-
selves independent of the provincial authorities at
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION 209
New Amsterdam. The governor therefoie visited
the place in person, and called upon all to take the
oath of allegiance.
There was great jealousy felt by the governor in
reference to the encroachments of the English.
They were pressing their claims everywhere. They
were establishing small settlements upon territory
undeniably belonging to the Dutch. English emi-
grants were crowding the Dutch colonies and were
daily gaining in influence. Though they readily
took the oath of allegiance to the Dutch authorities,
all their sympathies were with England and the
The Directors of the Company wrote to Stuyve-
sant recommending him " to disentangle himself in
the best manner possible from the Englishmen whom
he had allowed to settle at New Amstel. And at
all events not to admit any English besides them in
that vicinity, much less to allure them by any means
There were many indications that the English
were contemplating pressing up from Virginia to the
beautiful region of the Delaware The Directors
urged Stuyvesant to purchase immediately from the
Indians the tract of land between Cape Henlopen
and Bombay Hook. This contained a frontage on
Delaware bay of about seventy miles.
2IO PETER STUYVESANT.
"You will perceive," they wrote, "that speed is
required, if for nothing else, that we may prevent
ojher nations, and principally our English neighbors,
as we really apprehend that thi.T identical spot has
attracted their notice. When we reflect upon the
insufferable proceedings of that nation not only by
intruding themselves upon our possessions about the
North, to which our title is indisputable, and when
we consider the bold arrogance and faithlessness of
those who are residing within our jurisdiction, we
cannot expect any good from that quarter."
In the autumn of this year a very momentous
event occurred. Though it was but the death of
a single individual, that individual was Oliver Crom-
well. Under his powerful sway England had risen
to a position of dignity and power such as the nation
had never before attained. A terrible storm swept
earth and sky during the night in which his tempest-
uous earthly life came to a close. The roar of the
hurricane appalled all minds, as amid floods of rain
trees were torn up by the roots, and houses were
unroofed. The friends of the renowned Protector
said that nature was weeping and mourning in her
loudest accents over the great loss humanity was
experiencing in the death of its most illustrious
benefactor. The enemies of Cromwell affirmed that
the Prince of the Power of the Air had come with
AN ENERGETIC ADMINISTRATION. 211
all his shrieking demons, to seize the soul of the
dying and bear it to its merited doom.
Scarce six months passed away ere the reins of
government fell from the feeble hands of Richard,
the eldest son and heir of Oliver Cromwell, and
Monk marched across the Tweed and paved the
way for the restoration of Charles the Second.
To add to the alarm of the Dutch, Massachusetts,
taking the ground that the boundary established by
the treaty of Hartford, extended only "so far as
New Haven had jurisdiction," claimed by virtue of
royal grant all of the land north of the forty-second
degree of latitude to the Merrimac river, and extend-
ing from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. The
forty-second parallel of latitude crossed the Hudson
near Red Hook and Saugerties. This boundary
line transferred the whole of the upper Hudson
and at least four-fifths of the State of New York
In accordance with this claim, Massachusetts
granted a large section of land on the east side of
the Hudson river, opposite the present site of
Albany, to a number of her principal merchants to
open energetically a trade with the Indians for their
furs. An exploring party was also sent from Hart-
ford to sail up the North river and examine its
shores in reference to future settlements. The
212 PETER STUYVESANT.
English could not enter the Hudson and pass foit
Amsterdam with their v essels without permission of
the Dutch. This permission Stuyvesant persistent-
" The Dutch," said the inflexible governor,
" never have forbidden the natives to trade with
other nations. They prohibit such trade only on
their own streams and purchased lands. They can-
not grant Massachusetts or any other government
any title to such privilege or a free passage through
their rivers, without the surrender of their honor,
reputation, property and blood, their bodies and
The Esopus War.
Ontrage at Esopus. — New Indian War. — Its Desolations. — Snnering*
of both Parties. — Wonderful Energies of the Governor. — Difficul-
ties of his Situation. — The Truce. — Renewal of the War. — The
Mohawks. — The Controversy with Massachusetts. — Indian Ef-
forts for Peace. — The Final Settlement. — Claims of the English
upon the Delaware. — Renewed Persecution of the Quakers.
The exploring party from Massachusetts, which
had ascended the North river, found a region around
the Wappinger Kill, a few miles Jaelow the present
site of Poughkeepsie, which they pronounced to be
more beautiful than any spot which they had seen
in New England. Here they decided to establish
their settlement. Stuyvesant, informed of this, re-
solved to anticipate them. He wrote immediately
to Holland urging the Company to send out at once
as many Polish, Lithuanian, Prussian, Dutch and
Flemish peasants as possible, " to form a colony
It would seem that no experience, however
dreadful, could dissuade individuals of the Dutch
?I4 PETER STUYVESANT.
colonists from supplying the natives with brandy.
At Esopus, in August, 1659, a man by the name of
Thomas Chambers employed eight Indians to assist
him in husking corn. At the end of their day's work
he insanely supplied them with brandy. This led to
a midnight carouse in which the poor savages, be-
reft of reason, howled and shrieked and fired their
muskets, though without getting into any quarrel
The uproar alarmed the garrison in the block-
house. The sergeant of the guard was sent out,
with a few soldiers, to ascertain the cause of the dis-
order. He returned with the report that it was
only the revelry of a band of drunken savages.
One of the soldiers in the fort, Jansen Stot, call-
ed upon some of his comrades to follow him. Ensign
Smith, who was in command, forbade them to go.
In defiance of his orders they left the fort, and
creeping through the underbrush, wantonly took de-
liberate aim, discharged a volley of bullets upon the
inebriated savages, who were harming nobody but
themselves. One was killed outright. Others were
severely wounded. The soldiers, having perform-
ed this insane act, retreated, with the utmost
speed to the fort. There never has been any denial
that such were the facts in the case. They help to
corroborate the remark of Mr. Moulton that " the
THE ESOPUS WAR. 21$
cruelty of the Indians towards the whites will, when
traced, be discovered, in almost every case, to have
been provoked by oppression or aggression."
Ensign Smith, finding that he could no longer
control his soldiers, indignantly resolved to return
down the river to New Amsterdam. The inhabi-
tants of Esopus were greatly alarmed. It was well
known that the savages would not allow such an
outrage to pas.s unavenged. The withdrawal of the
soldiers would leave them at the mercy of those so
justly exasperated. To prevent this the people
hired every boat in the neighborhood. Ensign Smith
then decided to send an express by land, to inform
Governor Stuyvesant of the alarming state of affairs
and to solicit his immediate presence.
A party of soldiers was sent to escort the express
a few miles down the river banks. As these sol-
diers were returning, they fell into an ambuscade of
the Indians, and thirteen of them were taken prison-
ers. War, horrible war, was now declared. The
war-whoop resounded around the stockade at Eso-
pus from five hundred savage throats. Every house,
barn and corn-stack within their reach was burned.
Cattle and horses were killed. The fort was so
closely invested day and night that not a colonist
could step outside of the stockade. The Indians,
foiled in all their attempts to set fire to the fortress,
2l6 PETER STUYVESANT.
burnt ten of their prisoners at the stake. For three
weeks this fierce warfare continued without inter
When the tidings of this new war, caused by so
dastardly an outrage, reached Manhattan, it created
a terrible panic. It could not be doubted that all
the Indians would sympathize with their outraged
brethren. The farmers, apprehending immediate
attack, fled from all directions, with their families, to
the fort, abandoning their homes, grain and cattle.
Even many villages on Long Island were utterly
The administrative energies of Governoi Stuyve-
sant were remarkably developed on this occasion.
In the following terms, Mr. O'Callaghan, in his
admirable history of New Netherland, describes the
difficulties he encountered and his mode of sur-
mounting them :
" Governor Stuyvesant, though laboring under
severe indisposition, visited in person all the adjoin-
ing villages, encouraging the well-disposed, stimulat
ing the timid and urging the farmers everywhere t(
fortify ant defend their villages. He summoned
next the burgomasters, schepens,* and oncers of
the militia of New Amsterdam, and laid before them
the distressing situation of Esopus. They proposed
• Officers of a very important muni ipal court.
THE ESOPUS WAR. 2l^
to enlist by beat of drum, a sufficient number of
men, and to encourage volunteers by resolving that
whatever savages might be captured should be
declared ' good prizes.'
" Stuyvesant, however, was opposed to this mode
of proceeding. It would cause, in his opinion, too
great a delay, as those at Esopus were already
besieged some nine or ten days. He was left, not-
withstanding, in a minority. Two more days were
thus irretrievably lost ; for at the end of that t'me
only six or eight had enlisted, ' such a terrible horror
had overpowered the citizens.'
" Captain Newton and Lieutenant Stillwell were
now dispatched to all the English and Dutch villa-
ges, and letters were addressed to fort Orange and
Rensselaerswyck, ordering out the Company's ser-
vants, calling for volunteers and authorizing the
raising of a troop of mounted rangers. The half-
dozen servants in fort Amsterdam, every person
belonging to the artillery, all the clerks in the public
offices, four of the Director-General's servants, three
of the hands belonging to his brewery and five or
six new comers, were put under requisition.
Nothing could overcome the reluctance of the
burghers. The one disheartened the other; the
more violent maintaining that they were obliged to
defend only their own homes, and that no citizen
2l8 PETER STUYVESANT.
could be forced to jeopardize his life in fighting bar-
" Discouraged and almost deprived of hope by
this opposition, the Director-General again sum-
moned the city magistrates. He informed them that
he had now some forty men, and that he expected
between twenty and thirty Englishmen from the
adjoining villages. He therefore ordered that the
three companies of the city militia be paraded next
day in his presence, armed and equipped, in order
that one last effort might be made to obtain volun-
teers. If he should then fail of success, he an-
nounced his intention to make a draft.
" The companies paraded before the fort on the
following morning according to orders. Stuyvesant
addressed them in most exciting terms. He ap-
pealed to their sense both of honor and of duty, and
represented to them how ardently they would look
for aid, if they unfortunately were placed in a situa-
tion similar to that in which their brethren of Esopus
now found themselves. He concluded his harangue
by calling upon all such as would accompany him
either for pay or as volunteers, to step forward to
" Few came forward, only twenty-four or twenty-
five persons. This number being considered insuffi-
cient, lots were immediately ordered to be drawn by
THE ESOPUS WAR. 219
one of the companies and those on whom they fell
were warned to be ready on the next Sunday, on
pain of paying fifty guilders. ' However,' said the
governor, ' if any person is weak-hearted or dis-
couraged he may procure a substitute provided he
declares himself instantaneously.' "
In this way the governor raised a force of one
hundred and eighty men. Of this number one hun-
dred were drafted men, sixty-five volunteers, twenty-
five of whom were Englishmen, and there were also
twenty friendly Indians from Long Island.
With this force the governor embarked on Sun-
day evening, October loth, after the second sermon,
for the rescue of Esopus. Upon his arrival at that
place he found that the savages, unable to penetrate
the fort, had raised the siege and retired beyond the
possibility of pursuit. They had doubtless watched
the river with their scouts, who informed them
of the approach of the troops. The governor,
leaving a sufficient force to protect the village,
returned with the remainder of the expedition to
During the siege the loss of the Dutch was one
man killed and five or six wounded. The Indians
also succeeded, by means of burning arrows, in firing
one dwelling house and several stacks of corn within
the palisades. As the troops were re-embarking the
220 PETER STUYVESANT.
governor witnessed an occurrence which he declares
" he blushes to mention." As all the troops could
not go on board at once, a portion waited until the
first division had embarked. Some of the sentinels
hearing a dog bark, fired one or two shots. This
created a terrible panic. The citizens, whose ears
had been pierced by the shrieks of their countrymen,
whom the Indians had tortured at the stake, were
so terror-stricken that they lost all self-possession.
•■ Many of them threw themselves into the water
before they had seen an enemy."
The most friendly relations existed between the
Mohawks and the settlers in the vicinity of Albany.
A very extensive trade, equally lucrative to both
parties, was there in operation. The Indians, being
treated justly, were as harmless as lambs. When
they heard of the troubles at Esopus they declared
that they would take no part in the war. They
could not but feel that the Indians had been deeply
outraged. But with unexpected intelligence they
decided that they would not retaliate by wreaking
vengeance upon their long-tried friends. To con-
firm their friendly alliance, the authorities at fort
Orange sent an embassy of twenty-five of their
principal inhabitants to the Indian settlement at
Caughnawaga. This was about forty miles west ot
Albany on the north bank of the Mohawk river and
THE ESOPUS WAR. 221
near the site of the present shire town of Mont-
A large number of chiefs, from all the neighbor-
ing villages, attended. The council fire was light-
ed, and the calumet of peace was smoked. One of
the Dutch delegation thus addressed the assembly!
" Brothers, sixteen years have now passed away,
since friendship and fraternity were first established
between you and the Hollanders. Since then we
have been bound to each other by an iron chain.
That chain has never been broken by us or by you.
We hope that the Mohawks will remain our broth-
ers for all time.
" Our chiefs are very angry that the Dutch will
sell brandy to your people. They have always for-
bidden them to do so. Forbid your people also.
Eighteen days ago you asked us not to sell any
brandy to your people. Brothers, if your people do
not come to buy brandy of us, we shall not sell any
to them. Two days ago twenty or thirty kegs
came to us, all to be filled with brandy. Are you
willing that we should take from your people their
brandy and their kegs. If so, say this before all
With this speech there was presented to the
chiefs several bu.idles of wampum, seventy pounds
of powder, a hundred pounds of lead, fifteen tjces
22S PETER STUYVESANT.
two beavers worth of knives. The chiefs were
highly pleased with the presents and eagerly gave
their consent that the Dutch should seize the liquor
kegs of the Indians.
The authorities at fort Orange, having secured
the friendship of the Mohawks, endeavored to obtain
an armistice with the Indians at Esopus, and a re-
lease of the captives they had taken. Several Mo-
hawk and Mohegan chiefs, as mediators, visited
Esopus, on this mission of mercy. They were par-
tially successful. An armistice was reluctantly as-
sented to, and two captives were liberated. The
Indians, however, still retained a number of chil-
dren, they having killed all the adults. Those who
had agreed to the armistice were not the principal
chiefs, and the spirit of the war remained unbroken.
Under these circumstances Stuyvesant wrote to
Holland for aid. In his letter he said, " If a farmer
cannot plough, sow or reap, in a newly settled
country, without being harassed ; if the citizens and
merchants cannot freely navigate the streams and
rivers, they will doubtless leave the country and
seek a residence in some place where they can find
a government to protect them."
The Directors wrote back urging him to employ
the Mohawks and other friendly tribes against the
Esopus Indians The governor replied,
THE ESOPUS WAR. 2^i
" The Mohawks are, above all other savages, a
vain-glorious, proud and bold tribe. If their aid
be demanded and obtained, and success follow,
they will only become the more inflated, and we
the more contemptible in the eyes of the other
tribes. If we did not then reward their services, iu
a manner satisfactory to their greedy appetites,
they would incessantly revile us, and were this
retorted, it might lead to collision. It is therefore
safer to stand o;i our own feet as long as pos-
The governor had a long controversy with the
Massachusetts authorities in reference to its claim
to the upper valley of the Hudson. In this he ex-
pressed very strongly the title of Holland to the
" Printed histories," he writes, "archives, journals,
and registers prove that the North river of New
Netherland was discovered in the year 1609, by
Hendrick Hudson, captain of the Half Moon, in the
service and at the expense of the Dutch East India
Company. Upon the report of the captain several
merchants of Amsterdam sent another ship, in the
following year, up the said river. These merchants
obtained from the States-General a charter to navi-
gate the same. For their security they erected in
1614, a fort on Castle Island, near fort Orange,
224 PETER STUYVESANT.
New Netherland, including the North river, was af-
terwards offered to the West India Company, who,
in the year 1624, two years before Charles I. as-
cended the throne of England, actually and effectu-
ally possessed and fortified the country and planted
colonies therein. The assertion that the Hudson
river is within the Massachusetts patent granted but
thirty-two years ago, therefore, scarcely deserves a
Notwithstanding the undeniable strength of his
argument. Governor Stuyvesant felt very uneasy
To his friends he said,
" The power of New England overbalances ours
tenfold. To protest against their usurpatWHB^would
be folly. They would only laugh at us."
As hostilities still continued with the Esopus
Indians, Governor Stuyvesant again visited that post,
hoping to obtain an interview with the chiefs, and
to arrange a peace. Ensign Smith, with a very
strong party of forty men, had utterly routed and
put to flight two bands of Indians, one containing
fifty warriors, the other one hundred. He took
twelve warriors prisoners. They were sent to fort
Amsterdam. In the mean time Stuyvesant had
succeeded in renewing a treaty of alliance with the
Indian tribes on Long Island, Staten Island, and at
Hackensack, Haverstraw and Weckquaesgeek. The
THE ESOPUS WAR. 22$
Long Island Indians consented to send some of their
children to fort Amsterdam to be educated.
The Esopus Indians were now left in a very de-
plorable condition. Their brethren, on the upper
1 (udson, had refused to co-operate with them.
Their routed bands were being driven across the
mountains and many of their warriors were captives.
To use the contemptuous language of the times,
" they did nothing now but bawl (or peace, peace."
There had never been a more favorable oppor-
tunity to secure a lasting peace, and to win back the
affections of the Indians. By universal admission
the colonists were outrageously in the wrong in pro-
voking the conflict. They had given the Indians
brandy until they had become intoxicated. And
then half a dozen drunken soldiers had discharged
a volley of bullets upon them as they were revelhng
in noisy but harmless orgies.
Had the governor frankly acknowledged that the
colonists were in the wrong ; had he made full
amends, according to the Indian custom, for the
great injury inflicted upon them, they would have
b^en more than satisfied. Even more friendly rela-
tions than had ever before existed might have been
But instead of this the governor assumed that
the Indians were entirely in the wrong ; that they
226 PETER STUYVESANT.
had wantonly commenced a series of murders and
burnings without any provocation. The Esopus
chiefs were afraid to meet the angry governor with
proposals for peace. They therefore employed three
Mohegan chiefs as their mediators. They offered
to cease all hostilities, to abandon the Esopus coun-
try entirely, and surrender it to the Dutch if the
Indian captives, whom the Dutch held, might be re-
stored to them. These very honorable proposals
were rejected. The Mohegan chiefs were told that
the governor could not enter into any treaty of
peace with the Esopus Indians unless their own
chiefs came to fort Amsterdam to hold a council.
And immediately the Indian captives received the
awful doom of consignment to life-long slavery with
the negroes, upon a tropical island, which was but
a glowing sandbank in the Caribbean sea.
" On the next day," writes Mr. O'Callaghan, " an
order was issued, banishing the Esopus savages, some
fifteen or twenty, to the insalubrious climate of
Curajoa, to be employed there or at Buenaire with
the negroes in the Company's service. Two or three
others were retained at fort Amsterdam to be pun
ished as it should be thought proper. By this harsh
policy Stuyvesant laid the foundations of another
Esopus war, for the Indians never forgot theit
THE ESOPUS WAR. 227
It was ascertained that several miles up the
Esopus creek the Indians were planting corn. It
was the 20th of May, 1660. Ensign Smith took a
party of seventy-five men and advanced upon them.
The barking of dogs announced his approach just as
his band arrived within sight of the wigwams.
They all made good their retreat with the exception
of one, the oldest and best of their chiefs. His
name was Preumaker. We know not whether pride
of character or infirmity prevented his escape. It is
said, however, that he received the soldiers very
haughtily, aiming his gun at them and saying,
"What are you doing here, you dogs?"
The weapon was easily wrenched from his feeble
hands. A consultation was held as to what should
be done with the courageous but powerless old chief.
"As it was a considerable distance to carry him,"
writes Ensign Smith, "we struck him down with
his own axe."
At length the sufferings of the Esopus Indians
became so great from the burning of the villages
and the trampling down of their cornfields, the loss
of their armies and the terrified flight of their starv-
ing women and children, that they were constrained
to make another effort for peace.
On the nth of July, Governor Stuyvesant left
New Amsterdam for Esopus. Messengers were dis
228 PETER STUYVESANT.
patched to summon the Esopus chiefs to his
presence. Appalled by the fate of their brethren,
who had been sent as slaves to the West Indies, they
were afraid to come. After waiting several days the
governor sent envoys to the chiefs of other tribes,
urging them " to bring the Esopus savages to terms."
At length four Esopus chiefs appeared before the
gate of the village. Delegates from other tribes
also appeared, and a grand council was held. It is
very evident from this interview, that many of the
more delicate feelings of the civilized man had full
sway in the hearts of these poor Indians. Instead
of imploring peace themselves, the Esopus Indians
employed two chiefs, one of the Mohawk and the
other of the Mingua tribe, to make the proposition
in their behalf.
Governor Stuyvesant assented to peace upon
condition that the Mohawks and the Minguas would
stand as security for the faithful observance of the
terms exacted. The chiefs of these tribes agreeing
to this, in a formal speech admonished the Esopus
chiefs to live with the Dutch as brothers. And
then, turning to the Dutch, in a speech equally
impressive, they warned them not to irritate the
Indians by unjust treatment. The Indians were
compelled to yield to such terms as Stuyvesant pio
THE ESOPUS WAR. 229
All the lands of Esopus were surrendered to the
Dutch. The starving Indians were to receive eight
hundred schepels of corn as ransom for the captive
christians. The Indian warriors sent as slaves to the
West Indies, were to be left to their awful fate.
The mediators were held responsible for the faithful
execution of the treaty. Should the Esopus Indians
break it, the mediators were bound to assist the
Dutch in punishing them. No spirituous liquors
were to he drank ne^r the houses of the Dutch. No
armed Indians to approach a Dutch plantation.
Murderers were to be mutually surrendered, and
damages reciprocally paid for.
Thus were the Esopus Indians driven from their
homes, deprived of their independence and virtually
ruined. Having thus triumphantly though cruelly
settled this difficulty, Stuyvesant went up to fort
Orange, where he held another grand council with
the chiefs of all the tribes in those regions.
A clergyman was sent to Esopus and a church
organized of sixteen members. In September, 1660,
Domine Selyus was installed as the clergyman of
Brooklyn, where he found one elder, two deacons aiid
twenty-four church members. There were, at that
time thirty-one families in Brooklyn, containing a
population of one hundred and thirty-four persons.
They had no church but worshipped in a barn. Gov-
230 PETER STUYVESANT.
ernor Stuyvesant contributed nearly eighty dollars
annuaHy to the support of this minister, but upon
condition that he should preach every Sunday after-
noon, at his farm or bouwery upon Manhattan Isl-
The last of May, Charles the Stcond, the fugitive
King of England, was returning from his wanderings
on the continent to ascend the throne of his ances-
tors. He was a weak man, of imperturbable good
nature. On his way to London he stopped at the
Hague, where he was magnificently entertained. Ir
taking leave of the States-General he was lavish of
his expressions of friendship. He declared that he
should feel jealous should the Dutch prefer the
friendship of any other state to that of Great Brit-
At that time Holland was in commercial entei-
prise, the most prosperous nation upon the globe ;
decidedly in advance of England. The British par-
liament envied Holland her commercial supremacy.
" The Convention Parliament," writes Mr. Brodhead,
"which had called home the king, took early steps to
render still more obnoxious one of England's most
selfish measures. The Navigation Act of 165 1 was
revised ; and it was now enacted that after the first
day of December, i66o, no merchandise should be
imported into, or exported from any of his majesty'*
THE ESOPUS WAR. 23 1
plantations or territories in Asia, Africa or America,
except in English vessels of which the master and
three-fourths of the mariners at least are English.''
Immediately after this, Lord Baltimore demand-
ed the surrender of New Amstel and all the lands
on the west side of Delaware bay. " All the coun-
try," it was said by his envoy, " up to the fortieth
degree, was granted to Lord Baltimore. The grant
has been confirmed by the king and sanctioned by
parliament. You are weak, we are strong, you had
better yield at once."
A very earnest and prolonged discussion ensued.
The Dutch Company said, " We hold our rights by
the States-General. We are resolved to defend
those rights. If Lord Baltimore will persevere and
resort to violent measures, we shall use all the means
which God and nature have given us to protect the
inhabitants and preserve their possessions."
This was indeed an alarming state of affairs for
New Amstel. Various disasters had befallen the
colony, so that it now numbered but thirty families.
The garrison had been reduced, by desertion, to
twenty-five men ; and of these but eight or ten were
in the principal fort. The English were in such
strength upon the Chesapeake, that they could easi-
ly send five hundred men to the Delaware. Very
earnest diplomatic intercourse was opened between
232 PETER STUYVESANT.
the States-General and the British Parliament upon
Governor Stuyvesant, whose attention had been
somewhat engrossed by the Indian difficulties, now
renewed his persecution of the Quakers. Notwith-
standing the law against private conventicles, Henry
Townsend at Rustdorp, who had been already twice
fined, persisted in holding private meetings in his
house. He was arrested with two others, and car-
ried to fort Amsterdam. Townsend and Tilton
were banished from the colony. Two magistrates
were appointed as spies to inform of any future
meetings, and some soldiers were stationed in the
village to suppress them. Whatever Governor Stuy-
vesant undertook to do he accomplished very thor-
oughly. The following paper was drawn up which
the inhabitants were required to sign :
'' If any meetings or conventicles of Quakers
shall be held in this town of Rustdorp, that we
know of, we will give information to the authority
set up by the governor, and we will also give the
authorities of the town such assistance against any
such persons as needs may require."
A few refused to sign this paper. They were
punished by having the soldiers quartered upon
Fort Orange was, at this time, the extreme fron-
THE ESOPUS WAR. 233
tier post, in the north and west of New Netherland.
Though the country along the Mohawk river had
been explored for a considerable distance, there were
no settlements there, though one or two huts had
been reared in the vicinity of the Cohoes Falls.
This whole region had abounded with beavers
and wild deer. But the fur trade had been pushed
with so much vigor that the country was now almost
entirely destitute of peltries. - The colonists wished
to purchase the fertile lands in the valley of the Mo-
hawk, and the Indians manifested a willingness to
Tlu Disastrous Year.
Parchase of Staten Island. — The Restoration c*^ Charles Seconi?.-*
Emigrtaion Invited. — Settlement of Bushwick. — The Pecjliar
People. — Persecution of John Brown. — The Governor Rebuked.
— Cumulation of Disasters. — The Outbreak at Esopus. — The
Panic. — Measures of the Governor. — The Indian Fort. — The
expedition to Mamaket. — Capture of the Fort. — Annihilation of
the Esupus Indians.
In the year 1661, the Company purchased of
Melyn, the patroon, for about five hundred dollars,
all his rights to lands on Staten Island. Thus the
whole island became the property of the Company.
Grants of lands were immediately issued to individ-
uals. The Waldenses, and the Huguenots from
Rochelle in France, were invited to settle upon the
island. A block-house was built which was armed
with two cannon ahd garrisoned by ten soldiers.
Fourteen families were soon gathered in a little
settlement south of the Narrows.
Upon the restoration of Charles the Second, in
England, the Royalists and churchmen insisted upon
the restoration of the hierarchy. The Restoration
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 235
was far from being the unanimous act of the nation.
The republicans and dissenters, disappointed and
persecuted, were disposed in ever increasing num-
bers, to take refuge in the New World. The West
India Company of Holland being in possession of
a vast territory, between the Hudson and the Dela-
ware, which was quite uninhabited, save by a few
tribes of Indians, availed themselves of this oppor-
tunity to endeavor to draw emigrants from all parts
of Europe, and especially from England, to form
settlements upon their lands.
They issued proclamations inviting settlers and
offering them large inducements. The country,
which embraced mainly what is now New Jersey,
was described in glowing terms as if it were a second
Eden. And yet there was no gross exaggeration in
" This land," they wrote, " is but six weeks' sail
from Holland. It is fertile in the extreme. The
climate serene and temperate, is the best in the
world. The soil is ready for the plough, and seed
can be committed to it with scarcely any prepara-
tion. The most valuable timber is abundant. The
forest presents in profusion, nuts and wild fruit of
every description. The richest furs can be obtained
without trouble. Deer, turkeys, pigeons and almost
every variety of wild game, are found in the woods
236 PETER STUYVESANT.
And there is every encouragement for the establish-
ment of fisheries.''
Having presented this view of the region, to
which emigrants were invited, and having also an-
nounced an exceedingly attractive charter of civil
and religious privileges which would be granted
them, in the following terms the invitation to emi-
grate was urged :
" Therefore if any of the good christians, who
may be assured of the advantages to mankind of
plantations in tiiese latitudes, shall be disposed to
transport themselves to said place, they shall have
full liberty to live in the fear of the Lord upon the
aforesaid good conditions and shall be likewise
" We grant to all christian people of tender con-
science, in England or elsewhere oppressed, full
liberty to erect a colony between New England and
Virginia in America, now within the jurisdiction of
Twenty-three families, most of them French,
established a settlement on Long Island, at the place
now called Bushwick. The village grew rapidly and
in two years had forty men able to bear arms.
The proclamation issued by the Company, in-
viting emigrants to settle upon the lands between
the Hudson and the Delaware, attracted much
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 237
attention in Europe. CommittecF were sent to
examine the lands which it was proposed thus to
colonize. The region between New Amstel and
Cape Henlopen, being quite unoccupied, attracted
much attention. A company, the members of which
may be truly called a peculiar people, decided to
settle there. An extraordinary document was drawn
up, consisting of one hundred and seventeen articles
for the government of the association. In this
singular agreement it is written :
"The associates are to be either married men or
single men twenty-four years old, who are free from
debt. Each one is bound to obey the ordinances
of the society and not to seek his own advancem£iit
i*Ker -any -Other jncB^er. j!Jt> ifcrgyman is to be
admitted into the society. Religious services are to
be as simple as possible. Every Sunday and holiday
the people are to assemble, sing a Psalm and listen
to a chapter from the Bible, to be read by one of
the members in rotation. After this another Psalm
is to be sung. At the end of these exercises the
court shall be opened for public business. The
object of the association being to establish a harmo-
nious society of persons of different religious senti-
ments, all intractable people shall be excluded from
it, such as those in communion with the Roman See
nsurious Jews, English stiff-necked Quakers, Puri-
238 PETER STUYVESANT,
tans, fool-hardy believers in the Millenium and
obstinate modern pretenders to revelation."
While the Company in Holland, were inviting
emigrants to their territory of the New World,
with the fullest promises of religious toleration,
their governor, Stuyvesant, was unrelentingly per-
secuting all who did not sustain the established
A very quiet, thoughtful, inoffensive man, John
Brown, an Englishman, moved from Boston to Flush-
ing. He was a plain farmer, very retiring in his
habits and a man of but few words. From curiosity
he attended a Quaker meeting. His meditative
spirit was peculiarly impressed with the simplicity of
their worship. He invited them to his house, and
soon joined their society. The magistrates inform-
ed Stuyvesant that John Brown's house had be-
come a conventicle for Quakers. Being arrested,
he did not deny the charge, and was fined twenty-
five pounds and threatened with banishment.
The next week a new proclamation was issued,
saying, " The public exercise of any religion but the
Reformed, in houses, barns, ships, woods or fields, will
be punished by a fine of fifty guilders ; double for the
second offence ; and for the third quadruple with ar
John Brown, either unable or refusing to pay his
THE DISASTROUS YEAR 239
fine, was taken to New Amsterdam, where he was
imprisoned for three months. An order was then
issued announcing his banishment.
" For the welfare," it was written, " of the con>
munity, and to crush as far as possible, th.it abomi-
nable sect who treat with contempt both the politi-
cal magistrate, and the ministers of God's holy word,
and who endeavor to undermine the police and reli-
gion, John Brown is to be transported from this
province in the first ship ready to sail, as an exam
pie to others.''
He was sent to Holland in the " Gilded Fox."
Stuyvesant wrote to the Company, " The contuma-
cious prisoner has been banished as a terror to oth-
ers who, if not discouraged by this example, will be
dealt with still more severely."
The Company in Holland, was not at all in sym-
pathy with its intolerant governor. The exile was
received by them respectfully. The following dis-
patch, condemnatory of the severe measures of
Stuyvesant, was forwarded to him :
" Although it is our cordial desire that similar and
other sectarians may not be found there, yet, as the
contrary seems to be the fact, we doubt very much
whether vigorous proceedings against them ought
not to be discontinued ; mless indeed, you intend
to check and destroy your population, which, in the
240 PETER STUYVESANT.
youth of your existence, ought rather to be encour-
aged by all possible means.
" Wherefore it is our opinion that some conniv-
ance is useful, and that at least the consciences of
men, ought to remain free and unshackled. Let every
one remain free so long as he is modest, irreproach-
able in his political conduct, and so long as he does
not offend others or oppose the government. This
maxim of moderation has always been the guide of
our magistrates in this city. The consequence has
been that people have flocked from every land to
this asylum. Tread thus in their steps and we
doubt not you will be blessed.''
From this time persecution ceased in New Neth-
erland. Either Governor Stuyvesant was convinc-
ed by the argument in the above dispatch, or he
was intimidated by his rebuke. After two years of
absence John Brown returned to New Netherland,
and it is said that the governor received him as
though he were ashamed of what he had done.
The year 1663 was a year of many disasters.
Early in the year an earthquake shook severely the
whole of New Netherland and of the adjacent re-
gions. The melting of the snow in the spring, and
the faUing rains caused a desolating freshet, which
inundated all the meadow lands of the rivers, utter-
ly destroying the crops. This calamity was follow-
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 24t
ed by the small-pox, which spread with a like rapidi-
ty and fatality among the Europeans and the In-
dians. Of the Iroquois Indians over a thousand
died. In addition to these calamities came, worst
of all, war with its indescribable horrors.
At Esopus the hand of industry had been very
successfully employed. Quite a crowded population
filled the houses, within the palisades, and the rap-
idly increasing numbers had rendered it necessary
to commence another village, which was called
Wildwyck, on a fertile plain at a little distance from
the fort. Under the blessings of peace, wealth had
increased. The church numbered sixty members.
Most of the garrison had been withdrawn as no
But the Indians could not forget their brethren
sent to life-long slavery at Cura^oa. It was increas-
ingly evident that the peace, into which they had
entered, was not cordial. It was a compulsory
peace. An unendurable outrage had driven them
into the war. And by the terms of peace, while
they had been compelled to return all the captives
they held, fifteen of their warriors were doomed to
Murmurings were heard which foreboded an out-
break. Some of the settlers became alarmed and
communicated their fears to Governor Stuyvesant
242 PETER STUYVESANT.
He sent word that he would soon visit Esopus, to
investigate the state of affairs. The Indian chiefs,
hearing of this, returned the message, that if he were
coming to renew their treaty of friendship they
should expect him to come unarmed and they
would be happy to meet him in council, according
to their custom, in the open field outside of the
It was a pleasant morning of the 7th of June.
The governor had not yet arrived. The settlers,
thrown off their guard by the friendly message
which the chiefs had returned, were scattered about
in the fields engaged in their daily avocations. Be-
tween eleven and twelve o'clock at noon, an unusual
number of savages spread themselves through the
villages and entered the dwellings. They were ap-
parently, as usual, entirely unarmed, though it after-
wards appeared that they had concealed weapons.
They brought corn, beans, and other trifling articles
Suddenly the war-whoop was uttered from one
savage throat as a signal, and was instantly re-ech-
oed by a hundred others. Tomahawks and knives
and battle-axes gleamed in the air, and the work of
extermination was instantly and energetically com-
menced. The settlers were taken entirely by sur-
prise. Every Indian had marked his man. Neithef
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 243
women nor children were spared. Those who could
not easily be captured were struck down. Many
of the Indians speedily regained their guns which
they had concealed in the grass. Houses were
plundered and set on fire.
But the colonists did not submit to their fate
without valiant resistance. For several hours the
most deadly battle raged. The yells of the savages,
and the shrieks of wounded women and children,
devoured by the flames which consumed their dwell-
ings, were awful bej'ond any power of the pen to de-
Roelof Swartwout was entrusted with the muni-
cipal government at Esopus. His office of Schout
somewhat resembled that of a mayor in one of our
modern cities. He displayed much presence of mind
and bravery on this occasion. Rallying a few bold
men around him, he at length succeeded in driving
the savages from within the palisades and in shut-
ting the gates. Several hours of this awful conflict
had now passed. Evening had come. Devastation,
ruin, death surrounded them. The outer village
was in ashes. The fields were strewn with the bod-
ies of the dead. The half-burned corpses of women
and children were to be seen amidst the smoking
cinders of their former homes.
The village within the palisades had been set on
244 PETER STUYVESANT.
fire. A few houses had been burned, consuming the
mangled remains of those who had fallen beneath
the tomahawk and battle-axe of the Indian. Fortu-
nately a change of the wind had saved most of the
village from destruction. Swartwout and- his brave
little band, protected by the palisades, were able
through the loop-holes, to strike down any Indian,
who should appear within reach of their bullets.
They were now safe.
But this awful storm of war, which had passed
over their beautiful valley had, in three short hours
of a summer's afternoon, converted the whole scene
into a spectacle of almost unearthly misery. Every
dwelling outside of the palisades was in ashes.
Several within the enclosure were consumed, and
the charred bodies of the dead were intermingled
with the blackened timbers. Twenty-one of the
settlers had been killed outright. Nine were severe-
ly wounded. Forty-five, mostly women and chil-
dren, were taken captive, to be carried into bondage
more dreadful than death.
A night of woe ensued, during which the yells
of the savages, in their triumphal orgies dancing
around their captives, and probably exposing some
to the torture, fell appallingly upon the ears of the
sleepless survivors within the gates. Was this God's
allowed retribution for the crime of sending the
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 245
Indians into slavery? It certainly was the conse
The intelligence of this dreadful calamity waj
immediately transmitted to Governor Stuyvesant at
New Amsterdam. Through all the settlements the
tidings spread, creating universal panic. Mothers
and maidens turned pale as they thought of another
Indian war. The farmers and their families, aban-
doning everything, fled from all directions to the
forts within their reach. Every able-bodied man
was put to work in strengthening the defences.
The governor promptly dispatched forty-two
well-armed men to Esopus. Large bounties were
offered to all who would enlist. Forty-six friendly
Indians from Long Island offered their services and
were accepted as auxiliaries. Ample supplies were
forwarded to the devastated village. Scouting
parties were sent up the river to search out the
savages in their hiding-places. The Mohawks inter-
posed their friendly mediation in behalf of peace,
and succeeded in recovering and restoring to the
Dutch several captives.
They also informed the governor that the Indians
had taken the remaining captives to one of their
villages about thirty miles southwest of Esopus, and
that they refused to release them unless the gov-
ernor would send them rich presents and make a
246 PETER STUYVESANT.
peace without any compensation for what had trans-
pired at Esopus. It seems that the Indians regarded
the massacre there simply as the just atonement
which they had exacted for the enslavement of their
brethren, and that now their rude sense of justice
being satisfied, they were ready to enter into a solid
peace. But the governor was not at all disposed to
regard the matter in this light. He deemed it
necessary, under the circumstances, that the Indians
should feel the full weight of the white man's aveng-
Just then a woman, Mrs. Van Imbrock, who had
succeeded in effecting her escape from the Indians,
reached Esopus, having traversed the wilderness
through a thousand perils. She was a woman ol
great energy, intelligent and observing, and her
heart was bleeding in view of the friends she had left
behind her in captivity. She was eager to act as a
guide to lead a war-party for the rescue of her
friends in the retreat of the savages. She estimated
their number at about two hundred warriors. They
occupied a square fort, very strongly built of timber.
And still they adopted the precaution of sending
the prisoners every night under strong guard, to
some distant place in the mountains. The Indians
had a very clear appreciation of the value of thei/
captives as hostages.
THE DISASTROUS VEAR. 247
Governor Stuyvesant sent a force of two hundred
and ten men, under Captain Crygier, to attack
tliem. Forty-one of these were Indians and seven
were negroes. They took with them two small
cannon, with which at a safe distance, they could
soon open a breach through the Indian ramparts,
Ti'hich were merely bullet-proof. A garrison of about
seventy men was left behind for the protection of
At four o'clock in the afternoon of the 26th of
July, this little band commenced its march through
the trails of the wilderness, towards the setting sun.
The path was a rugged one over high hills and
across mountain streams. They had traversed but
a few miles when night came on and they bivouacked
until daybreak. The next morning" they pressed
forward with all vigor until they were within about
six miles of the fort. One hundred and sixteen men
were then sent forward to attack the Indians by sur-
prise, while the remainder prudently followed close
after as a reserve.
But the wary Indians, through their scouts, had
ascertained the approach of the foe and had fled
with their prisoners to the mountains. The Dutch
were astonished at the strength of the fort and at the
scientific skill with which it was constructed. The
Indians had evidently learned not a little of military
248 PETER STUYEVSANT.
art from the Europeans. Three parallel rows of
palisades enclosed a large square, with loopholes
through which unobstructed aim could be taken at
assailants. Within the palisades there were strong
block-houses, provided also with loopholes, to which
houses the warriors could retreat, as to citadels, in
case the outer works were taken. Between the
houses and the outworks there was a creek. The
whole fortress would have been no disgrace to an
The party found very comfortable quarters in
the fort for the night, and an ample supply of pro-
visions. An Indian woman, not being aware that
the white men were in the fort, came back for some
article she had left behind. She was taken prisoner
and informed her captors of the direction in which
the Indians had fled. As it is necessary for such a
party of two or three hundred, to keep together
and as the trail through meadows, across streamlets
and over mountains is narrow, it is not difficult
having once found their track to follow it.
It was determined, after a brief consultation, to
pursue them. The next morning at daybreak, the
pursuit was commenced. Twenty-five men were left
to keep possession of the fort. After several hours
of very fatiguing travel, they reached the spot, on a
high mountain, where the squaw supposed that the
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 249
Indians had established their camp. But not an
Indian was there. They had probably left their
spies on the path, who had informed them that the
foe was at hand.
The woman now said that they must have gone
on to another stronghold they had, at the distance
of about six miles. The march was continued
through great difficulties. But it was fruitless.
Not an Indian was to be found. They had another
stronghold about twelve miles farther on. It was
possible that they might be found there. But all
were fatigued and discouraged, and were disposed to
give up the hopeless chase. At one time they
caught sight of nine savages in the distance, but
they fled like deer.
Captain Crygier, deeming all further attempt to
overtake the savages hopeless, decided to return to
the Indian fort. Having reached it, all hands en-
gaged in the work of destruction. The savages had
collected there a large supply of provisions for the
approaching winter. The colonists took all they
could carry away with them and destroyed the rest.
They then utterly demolished the buildings and
palisades, committing all to the flames. The works
must have cost the Indians an immensity of labor.
There were two hundred acres of corn, waving richly
in the summer breeze, giving promise of an abund-
250 PETER STUYVESANT.
ant harvest. All was trampled down. It was a
fearful calamity to the wretched Indians. Probably
not a few perished of famine the next winter. There
was by no means a sufficient supply of game in the
forest to meet their wants. Their main reliance
was upon their cornfields.
While they were engaged in this work of destruc-
tion four savages appeared upon a hill near some of
the colonists, and cried out to them " To-morrow we
will come and fight you, for we must all now die of
The next morning the colonists commenced their
return. They showed their respect for the prowess
of the savages, by forming their little army in strong
military array, with the advance, the centre and the
rear guard. At nine o'clock in the evening of Au-
gust 1st, 1663, they reached their anxious friends at
Esopus, without the loss of a man.
Ere long news reached Esopus, that the savages
were building another fort, which they called a cas-
tle, about thirty-six miles southwest of Esopus, prob-
ably near the present town of Mamakating, Sullivan
county. An expedition of one hundred and twenty
five men, under Captain Crygier, was immediately
organized to destroy the works. A young Indian
guided the party. Several horses were taken with
them to bring back those who might be wounded
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 25I
At one o'clock in the afternoon of September
third, the party set out from Esopus. A march of
nine miles brought them to a creek, which was so
swollen by recent rains, that they were delayed for
several hours until they could construct a rude
bridge across it. In the meantime the rain was fall-
ing in torrents. It was not until four o'clock in the
afternoon of the next day that the party effected
its passage across the stream. They then pressed
forward twelve miles farther and bivouacked for the
At daybreak they were again upon the move,
and about two o'clock in the afternoon emerged
from the forest in view of the fort. It stood upon
an elevated plain. Like the one we have already
described, it consisted of a square enclosure, sur-
rounded by two rows of strong palisades, and a
third had already been commenced. These posts,
pointed at the top, were firmly planted in the
ground, and were of the thickness of a man's body,
and rose fifteen feet into the air.
Captain Crygier, after carefully scrutinizing the
works, divided his force into two sections for the
attack. He was well aware that he had a foe to en-
counter who would fight with the utmost despera-
tion behind his intrenchments. One party of the
assailants crept cautiously along, beneath the covert
252 PETER STUYVESANT.
of a hill, until, coming to the open plain, they were
discovered by a squaw, who uttered a terrible cry
which roused the whole garrison of Indians.
A sudden onslaught was then made by both par-
ties pouring, like an inundation, through the unfin-
ished works into the fort. The savages, taken by
surprise, and many of them without their arms, were
thrown into a panic. Many of them rushed out of
the fort, leaving their guns in the houses behind.
The Dutch followed close upon their heels, shooting
them, and with keen sabres cutting them down.
Just beyond the fort there was a creek. The terri-
fied Indians precipitated themselves into it, and by
wading and swimming forced their way across.
Here they attempted to rally and opened fire upon
the pursuing Dutch. The fire was returned with
so much vigor that the Indians were driven with loss
from their position. The assailants soon crossed the
creek, and the discomfited Indians, in hopeless rout,
fled wildly into the trackless wilderness.
In the impetuous assault the chief of the tribe,
Papoquanchen, was slain, and fourteen of his war-
riors with four Indian women and three children
Twenty-two christian prisoners were recovered, and
fourteen Indians were taken captive. The Dutch
lost but three killed and six were wounded. The
houses were all plundered by the victors. There
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 253
was found in them eighty guns, and " bearskins,
deerskins, blankets, elk hides and peltries sufficient
to load a shallop." Forty rolls of wampum and
twenty pounds of powder were also taken. The col-
onists loaded themselves with such plunder as they
could carry. The rest was destroyed.
The return of the victors with the rescued chris-
tian captives, gave great joy at Esopus. We regret
to record that, on the march home, there was one
of the Indian prisoners, an old man, who refused to
go any farther. Captain Crygier had him led a few
steps out of the path and shot. In unfeeling terms
the captain writes, "We carried him a little aside
and then gave him his last meal.''
The remainder of the month of September was
employed in sending out small scouting parties, and
in protecting the farmers while gathering their har-
vests. Though the Esopus Indians were pretty
thoroughly crushed by these disasters which had
befallen them, they showed no sign of submission.
It was estimated that not more than twenty-eight
warriors, with fourteen women and a few children
survived. And these were without homes and
almost in a state of starvation. Still it was decided
to fit out a third expedition against them to effect
their utter overthrow.
It was thought most probable that the dispersed
254 PETER STUYVESANT.
Indians would rally again within the fort at Mama-
kating, which had been captured and sacked but
not as yet destroyed. It was perhaps left as a lure to
draw the Indians to that point where they could be
surrounded and annihilated.
A strong well-armed party of one hundred and
sixty-four soldiers set out on this expedition. Forty
six of these were friendly Indians from a tribe called
Marespincks, whose home was on Long Island-
The soldiers were familiar with the route which they
had so recently traversed. A weary but rapid march
of twenty hours brought them to the scene of their
recent victory. Not an Indian was there. All was
silence and awful desolation. Even the colonists
were appalled by the spectacle which opened before
them. The Indians were so thoroughly panic
stricken that they had not ventured back even to
bury their dead. The decaying corpses lay scattered
around, many of them half consumed by vultures
and wolves. The birds and beasts, with wild cries,
were devouring their prey. Parties were sent out
to scour the woods. But no signs of the savages
could be found. In fact the Esopus tribe was no
more. It was afterwards ascertained that the
wretched remnant had fled south and were finally
blended and lost among the Minnisincks and othef
THE DISASTROUS YEAR. 25 c
The fort was so strong that it required not a little
labor to destroy it. It was necessary to cut down
or dig up the palisades, which were composed of
trunks of trees twenty feet long and eighteen inches
in diameter. Several cornfields were found in the
vicinity wherever an opening in the forest and fer-
tile soil invited the labor of the indolent Indian.
Two days were occupied in cutting down the corn,
already beautiful in its golden ripeness, and in cast-
ing the treasure into the creek. The palisades were
then piled around the dwellings and in a few hours
nothing remained of the once imposing fortress but
This Indian fort or castle, it is said, stood on the
banks of what is now called the Shawangunk kill, in
the town of the same name, at the southwestern
extremity of Ulster county. It seems as though it
were the doom of armies on the march, ever to
encounter floods of rain. Scarcely had the troops
commenced their return ere the windows of heaven
seemed to be opened and the fountains of the great
deep to be broken up.
At ten o'clock on the morning of the 5th of
October, 1664, the march was commenced. The
rain came on like that of Noah's deluge. The short
afternoon passed away as, threading ravines and
climbing mountains, they breasted the flood and
256 PETER SlUYVESANT.
the gale. The drenched host was soon enveloped
in the gloom of a long, dark, stormy night. Weary
and shelterless, the only couch they could find was
the dripping sod, the only canopy, the weeping skies.
The weeping skies ! yes, nature seemed to weep and
mourn over the crimes of a lost race, — over man's
inhumanity to man. It was not until the evening
of the next day, the rain still continuing, that these
weary soldiers reachtd their home at Esopus.
Encroachments of the English.
Aiiniliilation of the Esopus Tribe. — The Boundary Question.—
Troubles on Long Island. The Dutch and English Villages. —
Petition of the English. — Embarrassments of Governor Stuyve-
lant. — Embassage to Hartford. — The Repulse. — Peril of New
Netherland. — Memorial to the Fatherland. — New Outbreak on
Long Island. — John Scott and his High-handed Measures. —
Strengthening the Fortifications.
All but three of the captives carried away by
the Esopus Indians, were eventually recovered.
The fate of those three is lost in hopeless obscurity.
The revelations of the day of Judgment can alone
make known their tragic doom. To them, as to
thousands of others, this earthly life, if this be all,
must have been an unmitigated calamity. But this
is not all. After death cometh the j udgment. It
will be easy for God, in the future world, to compen-
sate his children a thousand-fold for all the ills they
are called to suffer in this life. There is true chris-
tian philosophy in the beautiful poetry of Bryant,
" Oh, deem not they are blest alone
Whose lives an even tenor keep.
For God, who pities man, hath shown
A blessing for the eyes that weep.
258 PETER STUYVESANT.
" For God has marked each sorrowing day
And numbered every secret tear.
And heaven's long age of bliss shall pay
For all his children suffer here."
Peace was now restored by the annihilation of
the hostile Indians. Most of the Dutch soldiers re-
turned to New Amsterdam. Still it was deemed
important to enlarge and strengthen the fortifica-
tions at Esopus.
The boundary line between the British colonies
in New England, and the Dutch settlements in New
Netherland, still continued in dispute. The Eng-
lish, in numerical strength, were in the vast ascen-
dency, and could easily overpower the Dutch. Very
strenuous efforts had been made, by the States-Gen-
eral, to lead the British government to accept some
boundary line. But all was in vain. It was very
evident that the English intended to claim the
whole. And it was also evident that their colonies
were increasing so rapidly that, in a short time, they
would be able to take possession of all the territory
so strongly that it would be hopeless for the Dutch
to attempt any resistance.
Governor Stuyvesant now received intelligence
from Holland that there was no hope of any settle-
ment being effected through the two governments,
and that he must do everything in his power to
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 259
strengthen the boundary hnes the Dutch claimed,
and to enter into such friendly relations with the
New England colonists that they should not be
tempted to undertake any encroachments. To add
to the governor's embarrassments very many English-
men had taken up their residence in the Dutch set-
tlements, particularly on Long Island. Though they
had, of necessity, taken the oath of allegiance to the
constituted authorities, their sympathies were with
the New England colonists ; and they would wel-
come any revolution which should transfer the terri-
tory to Great Britain, and thus absolve them from
In accordance with the instructions received
from Holland, the governor repaired to Boston to
enter into a friendly conference with the authorities
there. Scarcely had he left New Amsterdam, when
an English emissary, James Christie, visited Graves-
end, Flushing, Hempstead and Jamaica, with the
announcement that the inhabitants of those places
were no longer under the Dutch government, but
that their territory was annexed to the Connecticut
colony. This important movement took place on
the sixth of September, 1663.
Only about six weeks before, the Connecticut
council, on the 20th of July, had sent Captain John
Talcott with an armed force of eighteen soldiers, to
2Co PETER STUYVESANT.
that portion of New Netherland now called West-
Chester, to declare that the inhabitants were absolv-
ed from their allegiance to the Dutch government,
to dismiss the old magistrates and to appoint others
in their stead. These were high-handed meas-
ures, apparently inexcusable.
When John Christie reached Gravesend, he sum-
moned the whole village together and read to them
the dispatch. The British element was there
strongly in the ascendency, even the magistrates
being mainly on that side. As Christie was reading
the treasonable document, one of the Dutch magis-
trates, sheriff Stillwell, faithful to his oath, arrested
him. The other magistrates ordered the arrest of
Stillwell. His life was in danger from the passions of
the mob. He succeeded in sending word to New
Amsterdam of the peril of his condition. A sergeant
and eight soldiers were dispatched, who arrested
Christie again and held him under their guard.
News of these agitations spread rapidly through
the adjoining villages. It was rumored that a large
mob was gathering to rescue Christie from the
soldiers. Consequently, two hours after midnight,
under protection of darkness and without the
knowledge of the community, Christie was secretly
removed from sheriff Stillwell's house to New Am
sterdam. During the next day the tidings of his
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 261
removal spread through the streets. It created
great exasperation. At night a mob of one hundred
and fifty men surrounded the house of sheriff Still-
well, shouting that they would have him, dead or
He succeeded in the darkness, in escaping 1 y
the back door, and in finding his way to the house
of his son-in-law. The mob broke in, ransacked his
house in every corner, poured down their own thirsty
throats a large quantity of brandy which they found
there, and dispersed without committing any further
Stillwell hastened to New Amsterdam, to enter
his complaints there, and to seek protection. The
other magistrates wrote, throwing all the blame
upon him, accusing him of having acted in a violent
manner and of causing "a great hubbub in the
town." " We are," they wrote, " the loyal subjects
of the Dutch government, but not of sheriff Still-
well, who is the greatest disturber of the peace who
ever came among us."
The excitement was great. Threats were uttered
of retaliation if Christie were not released. But
the Dutch council in New Amsterdam approved of
the conduct of its sheriff. Christie was held firmly.
Dispatches were sent to all the towns in western
Long Island, where there was a considerable English
262 PETER STUYVESANT.
population, ordering that any seditious persons who
should visit their settlements, should be arrested
and sent to New Amsterdam. They then sent an
express to Governor Stuyvesant in Boston, that he
might bring the question of these disorderly meas-
ures before the General Assembly there.
But the governor could obtain no redress and no
promises of amendment. The Massachusetts au-
thorities would not hold themselves bound to the
faithful observance of the treaty of 1650. They
said that it was subject to his Majesty's approval
and to any limitations which might be found in the
charter granted to Connecticut. They refused to
submit the question to any arbitrators whatever.
The New England colonists were conscious that the
power was in their own hands, and they were dis-
posed to use it.
In the meantime the English residents in the
settlements on western Long Island were not idle.
The following very emphatic petition was got up
and signed by twenty-six individuals :
" The humble petition of us the inhabitants of
Jamaica, Middleborough and Hempstead, Long Isl-
and, whose names are subscribed, to the honored
General Court, to be assembled at Hartford on the
8th of Octobec 1663, humbly showeth,
" That forasmuch as it has pleased the all-dispos>
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 263
ing Providence to appoint unto us our dwellings in
these parts of the country, under the Dutch govern-
ment, in which government we meet with several
inconveniences, which do much to trouble us, and
which we find very uncomfortable, and forasmuch
as we have received information how it hath pleas-
ed the Highest Majesty to move the heart of the
King's Majesty to grant unto your colony such en-
largements as comprehend the whole island, there-
by opening a way for us, as we hope, from our pres-
ent bondage, to such liberties and enlargements as
your patent affords,
" Our humble petition is that, as we are already,
according to our best information, under the skirts of
your patent, so you would be pleased to cast over us
the skirts of your government and protection ; for as-
suredly if you should leave us now, which we hope we
have not cause to fear, our lives, comforts and estates
will be much endangered, as woful experience makes
manifest. For a countryman of ours, for carrying a
message to a neighbor plantation, from some of your-
selves, has been imprisoned for several weeks, and
how long it will be continued we know not."
This last sentence had reference to John Chris-
tie. It must be admitted that this was a very mild
way of putting the question, when it is remembered
that he came, commissioned by the Connecticut au«
264 PETER STUVVESANT.
thorities, at least so he represented it, to announce
to the people in the Dutch settlements, that they
were no longer under the Dutch government, but
under that of Hartford.
This petition was speedily followed by vigorous
measures, which were undoubtedly countenanced,
if not authorized, by the Connecticut authorities.
One Richard Panton, "whose commission was his
sword and whose power his pistol," threatened
the people of Flatbush and other Dutch villages in
the neighborhood, with the pillage of their property
unless they would take the oath of allegiance to the
Hartford government and take up arms against the
Dutch provincial authorities.
Such were the news which first greeted Govern-
or Stuyvesant when he returned, not a little dis-
pirited, from his unsuccessful mission to Boston.
He was fully aware that he could bring forward no
physical power which could resist the encroachments
of his unscrupulous neighbors. He had no weapon
to which he could resort but diplomatic skill. He
accordingly immediately sent a deputation of four of
his principal men to Hartford, still to make another
attempt with the authorities there to settle the
boundary question, " so that all further disputes
may, for the welfare of our mutual subjects, be pre
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 265
The commissioners sailed from New Amsterdam
and after two days landed at Milfoid. Thence
they took horses and rode to New Haven, where
they passed the night. The next day they rode to
Hartford. The road through the almost unbroken
wilderness was rough and the journey very fatigu-
ing. It took our fathers four days to traverse the
space over which we can now easily pass in four
hours. The General Assembly at Hartford appoint-
ed three persons as a committee of conference to
meet the delegation from New Amsterdam. A long
negotiation followed. John Winthrop, son of Gov-
ernor Winthrop of Massachusetts, was then governor
of Connecticut. He seems to have been the worthy
son of his noble sire. His sense of justice disposed
him to respect the claims of the Dutch delegation.
He admitted that the patent issued by the king of
England could by no justice rob the Dutch of their
territory, and that it was not so intended. But the
Hartford commissioners were inexorable. " The
opinion of the governor," they said, " is but the
opinion of one man. The grant of the king of Eng-
Imd includes all the land south of the Boston line
to Virginia and to the Pacific Ocean. We do not
know any New Netherland, unless you can show a
patent for it from the king of England."
" But did you not," said the Dutch delegates^
266 PETER STUYVESANT.
"agree by the treaty of 1650, that the boundary
line on Long Island should run from the western
part of Oyster bay straight across the island to the
sea ; and that the land east of that line should belong
to the English and west to the Dutch ?
" And did you not agree that, on the mainland,
the boundary line between the Dutch and English
possessions should begin upon the west side of
Greenwich bay, running twenty miles into the un-
known interior, and that the region west of that
should belong to the Dutch?"
The emphatic reply to those questions was, " We
regard that treaty as an absolute nullity — of no force.
We shall govern ourselves entirely by the patent
granted us by his majesty the king of England.
The Dutch may hold as much as they now actually
occupy. But that shall not hinder us from taking
possession of any territory not occupied by them."
The Dutch then proposed, by way of compromise,
that for the present, Westchester should remain in
possession of Connecticut, while the towns on west-
ern Long Island should remain under the govern-
ment of New Netherland. To this the Hartford
commissioners replied :
" We do not know of any province of New
Netherland. There is a Dutch governor over a
Dutch plantatioa on the. island of Manhattan. X-ong
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 267
Island is included in our patent, and we shall possess
and maintain it.'' *
Thus repulsed at every point, the Dutch agents
commenced their return. They bore a letter to
Stuyvesant from the General Assembly, in which,
withholding from him the title of governor of New
Netherland, they discourteously addressed him
simply as " Director General at Manhattan."
As we have mentioned, there were many English
settlers in the Dutch towns on the western end of
Long Island. In some of them it is not improbable
that the English element predominated. In the
letter sent by the General Court to Governor Stuy-
vesant, it was stated that Westchester and Stamford
belonged to Connecticut ; that, for the present, the
General Court would forbear from exercising any
authority over the English plantations on Long
Island ; but that, should the Dutch molest the Eng-
lish there, the Connecticut authorities would use all
just and lawful means for their protection.
The situation of the Dutch province was now
alarming in the extreme, and Governor Stuyvesant
was environed by difficulties which no mortal saga-
city or energy could surmount. His treasury was
exhausted. The English settlers in the Long Island
* See Brodhead's State of New York, vol. 1. p. 721 ; also O'Cal*
laghan's New Netherland, vol 2. p. 489.
268 FETER STUYVESANT.
villages, were in determined and open revolt. Ami
his English neighbors, whon^ he was altogether too
feeble to resist, were crowding upon him in the most
Under these circumstances, he called a Conven-
tion, to consist of two delegates from all the neigh-
boring villages, to meet at New Amsterdam on the
22d of October, 1663. Eight towns were repre-
The Convention adopted an earnest remon-
strance to the authorities in Holland, in which the
disastrous situation of the province was mainly
attributed to their withholding that aid which was
essential to the maintenance of the colony.
" The people of Connecticut," the remonstrance
stated, " are enforcing their unlimited patent ac-
cording to their own interpretation, and the total
loss of New Netherland is threatened. The Eng-
lish, to cloak their plans, now object that there is no
proof, no legal commission or patent, from their
High Mightinesses, to substantiate and justify our
rights an^ claims to the property of this province,
and insinuate that through the backwardness of
their High Mightinesses to grant such a patent, you
apparently intended to place the people here on
slippery ice, giving them lands to which your honors
had no right whatever,"
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 269
Governor Stuyvesant sent with this remon-
strance a private letter to the home government, in
which he urged that the boundary question should
be settled by the national authorities of the two
countries. " It is important,'' he said, " that the
States-General should send letters to the English
villages on Long Island, commanding them to re-
turn to their allegiance. And that the objections
of Connecticut may be met, the original charter of
the West India Company should be solemnly con*
firmed by a public act of their High Mightinesses,
under their great seal, which an Englishman com-
monly dotes upon like an idol."
Scarcely were these documents dispatched when
new and still more alarming outbreaks occurred.
Two Englishmen, Anthony Waters of Hempstead,
and John Coe of Middlebury, with an armed force
of nearly one hundred men, visited most of what
were called the English villages, convoked the peo-
ple, told them that their country belonged to the
king of England, and that they must no longer pay
taxes to the Dutch. They removed the magistrates
and appointed their own partisans in their stead.
They then visited the Dutch towns and threatened
them with the severest vengeance if they did not
renounce all allegiance to the Dutch authorities, and
take the oath of fealty to the king of England,
270 PETER STUYVESANT.
Only four weeks after this, another party of
twenty Englishnrien from Gravesend, Flushing and
Jamaica, secretly entered Raritan river, in a sloop,
and sailing up the river several miles, assembled the
chiefs of some of the neighboring tribes, and endeav-
ored to purchase of them a large extent of territory
in that region. They knew perfectly well not only
that they were within the bounds which had been
the undisputed possession of New Netherland for
nearly half a century, but that the Dutch had also
purchased of the Indians all their title to these lands.
Stuyvesant, being informed of this procedure,
promptly sent Ensign Crj-gier, with an armed force,
-n a swift sailing yacht, to find the English and
:hwart their measures. At the same time he sent
Hans, a friendly Indian, in whom he could repose
confidence, to warn the sachems against selling
over again, lands to which they no longer had any
title. The Dutch party reached the spot where the
Englishmen and the Indians were'in council, just in
time to stop the sale. The Indians were shrewd
enough to know that all they could give was a " quit
claim " title, and they were very willing to give that
in view of the rich remuneration which was offered
The English thus baflSed, again took their sloop
and sailed down the bay, to a point between Rens-
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 27 1
selaer's Hook and Sandy Hook, where they were
about to renew their endeavors when Ensign Cry-
gier again overtook them. " You are traitors," he
exclaimed. " You are acting against the govern-
ment to which you have taken the oath of fidelitj-.''
" This whole country," they repHed, " has been given
to the EngHsh by his Majesty the king of Eng-
Thus the antagonistic parties separated. The
Dutch sloop returned to New Amsterdam. The
next day a number of sachems came to New Am-
sterdam and sold to Governor Stuyvesant the re-
mainder of the lands on the Raritan, which had not
previously been transferred to the Dutch.
One John Scott, an Englishman of turbulent
character, and a zealous royalist, petitioned king
Charles Second to bestow upon him the govern-
ment of Long Island. In his petition, which was
referred to the Council for Foreign Plantations, he
" The Dutch have of late years, unjustly ob-
truded upon and possessed themselves of certain
places on the mainland of New England, and some
islands adjacent, as in particular on Manhattan and
Long Island, being the true and undoubted inherit-
ance of his Majesty."
In reply to this petition, Scott with two others,
i-J2 PETER STUYVESANT.
was appointed a committee to prepare " a statement
of the English title to those lands ; with an account
of the Dutch intrusion, their deportment since and
management of that possession, their strength, trade
and government there, and of the means to make
them acknowledge and submit to his Majesty's gov-
ernment or by force to expulse them.*'
Armed with this authority, Scott came to
America, where he was very cordially received by
the authorities in New Haven. Connecticut in-
vested him with the powers of a magistrate through-
out the whole of Long Island, and Governor John
Winthrop administered to him the oath of office.
Scott entered vigorously upon his work of wresting
western Long Island from the dominion of the
Dutch, whom he denounced as " cruel and rapacious
neighbors who were enslaving the English settlers."
He visited most of the villages, where large
numbers of the English resided, but found that
there was strong opposition to being annexed to
Connecticut. Many of them, particularly the Baf>-
tists and the Quakers, were very unwilling to come
under the rule of the Puritan government.
Consequently, six of the towns, Hempstead,
Gravesend, Flushing, Middlebury, Jamaica and
Oyster Bay, formed a combination to govern them-
selves independently of Connecticut, and empowered
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 273
Scott to act as their President, until the king of
England should establish a permanent government
among them. Scott in his pride now unfurled an
almost imperial banner. Placing himself at the
head of one hundred and seventy armed men, horse
and foot, he set out to compel the neighboring
Dutch villages to renounce their allegiance to Hol-
land and to subject themselves to his sway.
He first marched upon Brooklyn. Summoning
the citizens, he told them that the soil they occupied
belonged to the king of England, and that he nov
claimed it as his own, and that they were conse
quently absolved from all further allegiance to the
Dutch government and were required to take the
oath of submission to the new government, now
about to be established over them.
Scott was accompanied by so powerful an armed
force that the magistrates could not arrest him.
One of them, however, Secretary Van Ruyven,
invited him to cross the river to New Amsterdam
and confer with the governor there. Scott replied,
" Let Stuyvesant come here with a hundred men ;
I will wait for him and run my sword through his
There was no disposition manifested whatever,
on the part of the people, to renounce the govern-
ment of their fathers and accept of that of Scott in
274 PETER STUYVESANT.
its stead. There was a little boy standing by,
whose proud and defiant bearing arrested the atten-
tion of Scott. He was a son of the heroic Crygier,
of whom we have before spoken. Scott ordered
him to take off his hat and bow to the flag of Eng-
land. The boy refused. Scott struck him. A by-
stander scornfully said, " If you have blows to give,
you should strike men, not boys."
Four of Scott's soldiers fiercely assailed the man,
and though for a moment he defended himself with
an axe, he was soon compelled to fly. Scott
demanded his surrender and threatened to lay the
town in ashes unless he were given up. He was
not surrendered, and Scott did not venture to exe-
cute his barbarous threat.
From Brooklyn Scott went to Flatbush. He
there unfurled the flag of England in front of the
house of the sheriff. Curiosity assembled a large
concourse to witness what was transpiring. Scott
addressed them at much length. " He jabbered
away,'' writes a Dutch historian, " in English, like a
" This land," said he, " which you now occupy,
belongs to his Majesty, king Charles. He is the
right and lawful lord of all America, from Virginia
to Boston. Under his government you will enjoy
more freedom than you ever before possessed.
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 275
Hereafter you shall pay no more taxes to the Dutch
government, neither shall you obey Peter Stuyve-
sant. He is no longer your governor, and you are
not to acknowledge his authority. If you refuse to
submit to the king of England, you know what to
His harangue produced no effect. The Dutch
remained unshaken in their loyalty. Some of the
magistrates ventured to tell him that these were
matters which he ought to settle with Governor
StuyvQsant. He replied,
" Stuyvesant is governor no longer. I will soon
go to New Amsterdam, with a hundred men, and
proclaim the supremacy of his Majesty, king Charles,
beneath the very walls of the fort."
The next day he went to Flatbush, where there
was a renewal of the scenes which we have above
described. Though the people could present no re-
sistance, he found no voice to cheer him. The
want of success exasperated Scott. He went to
New Utrecht. There was a block fort there, arm-
ed with cannon, and over which floated the Dutch
flag. He hauled down that banner and raised in its
stead the flag of England. Then, with Dutch can-
non and Dutch powder, he fired a salute in honor
of his victory. All passers-by were ordered to un-
cover their heads and bow in submission to the
276 PETER STUYVESANT.
English flag. Those who refused to do so were
pursued by his soldiers and cruelly beaten.
Governor Stuyvesant, upon being informed of
these transactions, immediately sent three of his
principal men to Long Island, to seek some arrange-
ment with Scott for the termination of such disor-
ders. They met him at Jamaica. After much dis-
cussion they entered into a partial agreement, which
was to be submitted to the approval of Governor
Stuyvesant. As the Dutch deputies took their
leave, Scott said to them,
" This whole island belongs to the king of Eng-
land. He has made a grant of it to his brother, the
duke of York. He knows that it will yield him an
annual revenue of one hundred and fifty thousand
dollars. He is soon coming with an ample force, to
take possession of his property. If it is not surren-
dered peaceably he is determined to take, not only
the whole island, but also the whole province of
With these alarming tidings, the Dutch envoys
returned to New Amsterdam. Disorders were now
rapidly multiplying. Scott rallied around him all
the most turbulent of the English population, and
the Dutch towns were menaced with violence. The
Dutch families in the English villages, were many
of them compelled to abandon their houses, and re
ENCROACHMENTS OF THE ENGLISH. 277
pair to the Dutch villages for protection. Frequent
collisions occurred. There was no longer any hap-
piness or peace to be found in these dwellings agi-
tated by the approaching tempests of revolution.
The inhabitants of New Amsterdam became
greatly alarmed from fear that their rich and beau-
tiful city would be attacked or plundered by the
English. The burgomasters and principal men drew
up a petition to the authorities urging additional for-
tifications for the city and the enlistment of an in-
creased armed force."
In this petition they said, " this capital is adorn-
ed with so many noble buildings, at the expense of
so many good and faithful inhabitants, principally
Netherlanders, that it nearly excels any other place
in North America. Were it duly fortified it would
instil fear into any envious neighbors. It would pro-
tect both the East and the North rivers, the sur-
rounding villages and farms, as well as full ten thou-
sand inhabitants who would soon flock to this prov-
ince, where thousands of acres of land remain wild
and uncultivated. It would become the granary of
fatherland. Yes, if permitted to abide in peace this
land will become an emporium to fatherland by ita
In accordance with this memorial, heavy taxes
were imposed and large contributions subscribed
,278 PETER STUYVESANT.
to enlarge and strengthen the fortifications. A
mihtia of two hundred men was organized, and
one hundred and sixty were enlisted as regular
Hostile Measures Commenced.
John Scott and his Movements. — Losses of the Dutch. — The First
General Assembly. — Action of the Home Government. — Peace
with the Indians. — Arrest of John Scott. — Governor Winthrop's
visit to Long Island. — Sailing of the Fleet. — Preparations for
War. — The False Dispatches. — Arrival of the Fleet. — The Sum-
mons to Surrender.
Governor Stuyvesant, with much anxiety of
mind, kept a vigilant eye upon the proceedings
of John Scott, on Long Island. Some praised the
governor for the forbearance he had exhibited
under the provoking circumstances. Others severely
blamed him for his course, which they pronounced
to be cowardly and disgraceful to the nation.
By the terms of the Convention, concluded
between the Dutch delegates and John Scott, it was
agreed that the English villages, on the western part
of Long Island, should remain unmolested under
English rule, for the space of one year, until the
king of England and the States-General of Holland
should have time to settle the question in dispute.
In the meantime the English were to have free
•280 PETER STUYVESANT.
access to all the Dutch towns on the island, and on
the mainland, for purposes of trade ; and the Dutch
were to enjoy the same privilege in visiting the
These terms were to be presented to Governor
Stuyvesant for his rejection or approval. Deciding
to ratify them he took with him an escort of ten
men, and proceeded to Hempstead, on the third day
of March, 1664. Here he met the President, John
Scott, with delegates from the English towns, and
the agreement was ratified.
The Dutch had now lost, one after another,
every portion of territory which the English had
assailed. The whole valley of the Connecticut river
had been surrendered to the English. Westchester
was entirely in their possession. And now the
important towns of Flushing, Jamaica, Hempstead
and Gravesend were yielded up to them. The
whole of Long Island was also peremptorily claimed
by the English, with the declaration that if any
resistance were made to their taking possession of
it, they would seize the valley of the Hudson and
the whole of New Netherland.
The conjuncture was gloomy indeed. Governor
Stuyvesant was conscious that he was utterly power-
less. He then" decided it to be necessary to call to
his aid popular representation. A General Assembly
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 28l
of delegates from all the towns was convoked to
take into consideration the state of the province.
This important meeting was held in the City Hal!
of New Amsterdam, on the loth of April, 1664.
Twenty-four delegates were present from twelve
Immediately there arose an unfriendly contro-
versy between the governor and the assembly which
was fatal to any harmonious or efficient action.
The assembly refused to grant the governor the
supplies, in money or in men, which he called for, and
adjourned for a week. In the meantime Governor
Stuyvesant had received dispatches from Holland.
The West India Company had acted energetically
upon the subject urged in his memorial. They had
presented to the States-General a very earnest peti-
In this memorial they laid before that august
body, a detailed account of the aggressions com-
mitted by the English, and of the repulse with which
the Dutch overtures for an amicable settlement had
been met at Boston and Hartford.
" Out of respect," said they, " to the alliance
recently entered into with England, they had
hitherto abstained from hostilities. But, as it now
seemed absolutely necessary to repel aggression by
force, they-implored such military and pecuniary aid
282 PETER STUYVESANT.
as the occasion required. They also urged that, in
conformity with Governor Stuyvesant's request, an
act should be passed under the great seal, confirm-
ing their original charter; and that letters might be
sent to the revolted towns on Long Island, requiring
them, under the severest penalties, to return to their
allegiance. In conclusion they asked that the
whole of the aggressions of which they complained
might be communicated to the king of England,
with the request that he would order his English
subjects to restore, on the instant, the places they
had seized, and to abstain from all further innova-
tions, pending the negotiations for a boundary
These requests were complied with by the
States-General. They sent sixty soldiers to New
Amsterdam, with orders to Governor Stuyvesant to
resist any further encroachments of the English, and
to reduce the revolted villages to allegiance. It
was easy for the States-General to issue such an or-
der, but it was not so easy for Governor Stuyvesant
to execute it. The Assembly was immediately call-
ed together again, and the documents from Holland
presented to them. After much deliberation it was
decided to be impossible, with the force at the gov-
ernor's command, to subdue the English villages.
In those villages it was said that the Dutch wer«
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 283
outnumbered six to one ; and that upon the out-
break of hostilities, the flourishing settlements on
the Connecticut would immediately send such a
force to Long Island, as would enable them to over-
come and take possession of all the other villages.
It will be remembered that the Esopus Indians
had been completely humbled, and almost annihila-
ted. The tribe living in the immediate vicinity of
the village of Esopus, had been slaughtered or driven
from their lands. The survivors had taken refuge
with other neighboring tribes, who were more or
less in sympathy with them. Thus while there was
a cessation of actual war, hostility continued. No
terms of peace had been agreed to, and there could
be no friendly intercourse.
News reached Governor Stuyvesant that the
Connecticut people, in their intrigues to get posses-
sion of New Netherland, were tampering with these
river Indians, endeavoring to enter into a treaty of
alliance, offensive and defensive with them. It was
consequently deemed desirable immediately to se-
cure a general peace with these Indians.
The sachems of several tribes were invited to as*
semble in the Council Chamber at fort Amsterdam.
The governor with nine of his council, met them.
It is worthy of special notice that, the preliminaries
being settled, one of the Indian chiefs offered an
284 PETER STUYVESANT.
earnest prayer. First he called several times, with
a loud voice, upon the Great Spirit to hear him
In his language Bachtamo was the name for God.
" Oh Bachtamo," he said, " help us to make a
good treaty with the Dutch. And may the treaty
we are about to negotiate be like the stick I hold in
my hand. Like this stick may it be firmly united,
the one end to the other."
Then turning to the governor, he said, " We all
desire peace. I have come with my brother sa-
chems, in behalf of the Esopus Indians, to conclude a
peace as firm and compact as my arms, which I now
Then presenting his hand to Governor Stuyve-
sant he added, " What I now say is from the fullness
of my heart. Such is my desire, and that of all my
A solemn treaty was soon negotiated. It was
signed the next day, and the event was celebrated
by salvos of artillery. On the whole, the terms were
fair, but rather hard for the Indians. The treaty is
concisely given by O'Callaghan in the following
" By its terms all that had passed was to be for-
ever forgotten and forgiven. The land, already
given to the Dutch as an indemnity, and now again
conquered by the sword, the two forts belonging to
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 285
the Indians included, became the property of the
christians. The savages were not to return thither
to plant, nor to visit the village, or any remote
Dutch settlements with or without arms. But as it
was not intended to expel them altogether from the
country, they were permitted to plant near their
new fort, and this year only, by their old castle, as
they had already placed some seed in the ground
there. But the lands, in the neighborhood of these
forts, having been conquered, were to belong to the
" To prevent all future collision, no savage
should hereafter approach the place where the
christians were ploughing, pasturing, sowing or en-
gaged in agricultural labor. The violation of this
article was to subject them to arrest. They might
sell meat or maize at the Ronduit, in parties of
three canoes at a time, but only on condition that
they sent a flag of truce beforehand to give no-
tice of their approach. For their accommodation,
on such occasions, a house was to be built beyond
" Should a Dutchman kill an Indian, or an In-
dian a Dutchman, no war was to be declared. A
complaint was to be lodged against the murderer,
who should be hanged in the presence of both the
contracting parties. All damages, by the kiUing of
286 PETER STUYVESANT.
cattle, were to be paid for ; and this treaty was to
be annually ratified by the Esopus Indians. The
Hackingsack and Staten Island sachems were se-
curity for the faithful observance of this contract ;
.and were bound to co-operate against either the
Esopus Indians or the Dutch, whichever might vio-
late its terms."
The peace thus secured gave universal satisfac-
tion in the Dutch settlements. Governor Stuyve-
sant devoutly proclaimed a day of general thankbr
giving to God for the great blessing.
It will be remembered that John Scott had
received a commission from Connecticut, and it
was expected that, as their agent, he would cause
the English towns on western Long Island to be
annexed to the Connecticut province. Instead
of this, those towns declared themselves indepen-
dent, and Scott allowed himself to be chosen their
president. The Court at Hartford, upon being
made acquainted with these facts, was very in-
d'gnant. A proclamation was soon issued by
the Assembly of Connecticut, charging Scott with
various high crimes and misdemeanors, and or-
dering his arrest. A party of soldiers was sent
under the command of John Allyn, secretary, " to
seize on the body of John Scott." Mr. Allyn
returned to the Honorable Court the follow-
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 287
ing interesting report of his procedure on the
" When we came within sight of the house of
John Scott we saw him draw forth those men
which came from New Haven to aid him, with
some others, unto a body. When we came up to-
wards the house, within twenty or thirty rods there-
of. John Scott commanded us, in his Majesty's name
to stand, upon our peril. John Scott charged us
in his Majesty's name, to get off from his land.
John Scott desired to know what our business was.
" Then it was replied, by Nathaniel Seely, that
he desired a parley. John Scott granted a parley,
and we met, each of us with a couple of musketeers.
Then Nathaniel Seely told him that he had come
to arrest him, and read the commission unto him.
When it was read Seely demanded of him whether
he would surrender himself according to commis-
" John Scott replied that he would sacrifice his
heart's blood on the ground, before he would yield
to him or any of Connecticut jurisdiction. With
that the New Haven men answered, ' So will we.'
John Scott said, ' Stay awhile and I will fetch you a
letter, from under Governor Winthrop's hand, which
I do not question much will satisfy you.' So he
went into the house and fetched it forth and read it
288 PETER STUYVESANT.
before us, bearing date as he said, of March 2$,
" It was concerning the governor's desiring him
to meet him to end some difference in the Narragan-
sett country about a tract of land. John Scott
said, ' If you will return to your body, I will fetch
a commission under his Majesty's hand, which shall
command you all.' Whereupon he made a flourish
and said that he would go down unto the face of the
company and read it, and he would see if the proud-
est of them all dared to lay hands upon him. ' Let
them,' said he, ' take me if they dare.'
" Then he came down to the head of the com
pany, and read the commission, which he said had
the seal manual upon it. Whereupon he renewed
his challenge that he would see if the proudest of
them all dared to lay hands upon him. Then
Nathaniel Seely arrested him in his Majesty's name
to go with him according to law."
Scott was taken to Hartford and thrown into
jail, where, it is said, he experienced much harsh
usage. Soon after this Governor John Winthrop,
from Hartford, visited the English Long Island
towns, removed the officers appointed by Scott, and
installed others who would be devoted to the inter-
ests of Connecticut.
Governor Stuyvesant being informed of his pres-
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 289
ence, immediately crossed the East river to Long
Island, to meet the Connecticut governor, who was
thus encroaching upon the Dutch domains. He
uiged upon Governor Winthrop the claims of Hol-
land upon New Netherland, by the apparently
indubitable title of discover).-, purchase and posses-
sion, as well as by the clearly defined obligations of
the Hartford treaty of 1650. It will be remembered
that by that treaty it was expressly agreed that,
" Upon Long Island a line run from the western-
most part of Oyster Bay, in a straight and direct
line to the sea, shall be the bounds between th'
English and the Dutch there ; the easterly part tc
belong to the English, the westernmost part to tlu
But here was Governor Winthrop, in total dis-
regard of this treaty, inany miles west of this line,
endeavoring to wrest sevtral towns from the Dutch
dominion, and to annex tbem to the Connecticut
colony. All Governor Stuj-vesant's arguments were
unavailing. Governor Wii;throp paid no heed to
them. He knew very wf.ll that the Dutch governor
liad no military power ■wiCh which to enforce his
claims. Governor Winthiop *-he.-t<'ore contented
himself with simply dcclarin^^ th^t the whole of
Long Island belonged to the kjn^ of Ui.feljtt<J.
" AH Governor Stuy\'esant could '*<iiKi.\. ' «-ntes
290 PETER STUYVESANT.
O'Callaghan, " was of no avail. The country was
the king's, the people his subjects. When priority
of title from the Indians was invoked, those from
whom the Dutch purchased were, it was replied,
not the right owners and had no right to sell. But
when deeds which the English held from natives,
happened to be older than those of their opponents,
then the title could not be gainsayed. All must be
received without contradiction.
" The truth is, the Directors in Holland were
mistaken in their reliance upon Winthrop's friend-
ship. He now manifested the greatest hostility to
the Dutch, and was the head and front of all the
opposition they experienced. He was no doubt
well-advised of the designs of the Duke of York,
and of his brother the king of England, which were
about to develop themselves against this province."
While New Netherland was thus fearfully men-
aced by England, the internal affairs of the province
were in a state of prosperity. The rich soil was
producing abundant harvests and farms were extend-
ing in all directions. Emigrants were continually
arriving and were delighted with their new homes.
The population of the province now amounted to
full ten thousand. New Amsterdam was a flourish-
ing city, containing fifteen hundred inhabitants.
This prosperity excited both the jealousy and
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 29I
the covetousness of the British court. The king
resolved, by one bold blow, to rob Hollana of all her
American possessions. On the 12th of March, 1664,
the king of England granted to his brother James,
the Duke of York, the whole of Long Island, all
the islands in its neighborhood, and all the lands
and rivers from the west side of Connecticut river
to the east side of Delaware Bay. This sweeping
grant included the whole of New Nctherland.
This was emphatically expelling the Dutch from the
The first intimation Governor Stuyvesant re-
ceived of this alarming movement came to him
from Boston. A young man, named Ford, brought
the tidings to New Amsterdam that a fleet of armed
ships had sailed from the naval depot in Portsmouth,
England, to enter the Hudson river and take posses-
sion of the whole territory. This intelligence created
not a little panic. The governor summoned his
council, and it was decided to exert every energy
in fortifying the city. The hostile fleet might make
its appearance any day.
Money was raised. Powder was ordered from
the forts on the Delaware. Agents were sent to
New Haven to purchase provisions. As it was
expected that the fleet would come through the
Sound, agents were stationed along the shore, to
292 PETER STUYVESA.NT.
transmit the tidings of its approach, so soon as the
sails should be seen in the distant horizon. Several
vessels on the point of sailing with supplies to
Curajoa were detained.
So secretly had the British government moved
in this enterprise, that the governmental authorities,
in Holland, had not the slightest suspicion of the
peril to which their colony in New Netherland was
exposed. At the moment when all was agitation
in New Amsterdam, and every hand was busy pre-
paring for the defence, Governor Stuyvesant received
dispatches from Holland, assuring him that no ap-
prehension of danger from England need be enter-
" The king of England," it was said, " is only
desirous of reducing his colonies to uniformity in
Church and State. With this view he has dispatched
some commissioners with two or three frigates, to
New England, to introduce Episcopacy in that
It was supposed in Holland, that this intolerant
policy would strengthen the Dutch interests in
America; that the religious freedom, which the
States-General insisted upon, would invite to New
Netherland from all the countries of Europe, those
who were not willing to conform to thg doctrine?
and ritual of the Church of England,
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 293
Governor Stuyvesant, upon receiving these dis-
patches from the home government, felt relieved of
all anxiety. He had no doubt that the previous
rumor which had reached him was false. Neither
he nor his council anticipated any difficulty. The
whole community indulged in the sense of security.
The work on the fortifications was stopped ; the
vessels sailed to Cura§oa, and the governor went
up the river to fort Orange. A desolating war
had broken out between the Indian tribes there,
which raged with such ferocity that the colonists
were full of alarm for their own lives and prop-
But the English fleet was rapidly approaching.
It consisted of four frigates, containing in all an
armament of ninety-four guns. This was a force to
which defenceless New Amsterdam could present no
The fleet put into Boston the latter part of July,
and the commissioners applied to both Massachu-
setts and Connecticut for aid in their military expe-
dition against the Dutch. But the Puritans of
Massachusetts found innumerable obstacles in the
way of rendering any assistance. They feared that
the king of England, having reduced the Dutch,
would be induced to extend his arbitrary sway, both
civil and religious, over those colonists who were
294 lETER STUYVESANT.
exiles from their native land, simply that they might
enjoy freedom to worship God.
Connecticut, however, hoped that the conquest of
New Netherland might annex the magnificent do-
main to their own region. Governor Winthrop, of
Hartford, manifested so much alacrity in the cause,
that he was invited to meet the British squadron,
at the west end of Long Island, to which point it
would sail with the first fair wind.
Colonel Richard Nicholls was in command of the
expedition. Three commissioners were associated
with him. They had received instructions to visit
the several New England colonies, and to require
them, " to join and assist vigorously in reducing
the Dutch to subjection." The Duke of York, soon
after the departure of the squadron, conveyed to
Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret all the terri-
tory between the Hudson and Delaware rivers, from
Cape May north to forty-one degrees and forty
minutes of latitude, " hereafter to be called Nova
Caesarea or New Jersey."
A friend of Governor Stuyvesant, in Boston, sent
word to New Amsterdam of the arri\al of the fleet
and its destination. An express was instantly dis-
patched to Albany to recall the Governor. He hur-
ried back to the capitol, much chagrined by the
thought that he had lost three weeks. Every able
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 295
bodied man was immediately summoned to work at
the city defences, " with spade, shovel and wheel-
barrow." This working party was divided into three
classes, one of which was to labor every day. A
permanent guard was organized. The brewers were
forbidden to malt any more grain, that it all might
be reserved for food. Six pieces of cannon were
added to the fourteen already mounted. The gar-
rison at Esopus was summoned to the defence.
About the 20th of August, the English squad-
ron anchored in Nyack Bay, just below the Narrows,
between New Utrecht and Coney Island. A stiict
blockade of the river was established. All commu-
nication between Long Island and Manhattan was
cut off. Several vessels were captured. Upon
Staten Island, about three miles from where the
frigates rode at anchor, there was a small fort, a
block-house, about twenty feet square. It had
been constructed for defence against the savages.
For its armament it had two small guns, carrying
one pound balls, and a garrison of six old invalid
soldiers. A part/ was sent on shore, in the boats,
which captured the fort and also a lot of cattle.
The next morning, which was Saturday, Colonel
NichoUs sent a delegation of four men up to fort
Amsterdam, with a summons for the surrender of
' the town situated on the island commonly known
296 PETER STUYVESANT.
by the name of Manhattoes, with all the forts there-
unto belonging." At the same time proclamations
were scattered abroad, forbidding the farmers from
furnishing any supplies to the Dutch garrison, under
penalty of having their houses fired. All the inhab-
itants of the surrounding villages, who would quiet-
ly submit to his Britannic Majesty, were promised
the safe possession of their property. Those who
should otherwise demean themselves were threaten-
ed with all the miseries of war.
Governor Stuyvesant had but one hundred sol-
diers in garrison. He could not place much reliance
upon the aid of undisciplined citizens. Still his
brave spirit was disposed to present a desperate
resistance. He called his council together, but
was unwilling to have the people know the nature
of the summons, lest they should clamor for a sur-
But the citizens held a meeting, voted in favor
of non-resistance, and demanded an authentic copy
of the communication, which had been received from
the commander of the English fleet. They adjourn-
ed to meet on Monday morning to receive the re-
ply. Governor Stuyvesant was greatly distressed.
After the Sabbath he went to the meeting in per-
son, and endeavored to convince those present of
the impropriety of their demands. But the citizens,
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED. 297
trembling in view of the bombardment of the town,
were in no mood to listen to his persuasions.
It was not needful for the English to be in any
hurry. The prey was entirely within their grasf.
It will be remembered that Governor Winthrop of
Hartford, had joined the expedition. Colonel Nich-
oUs addressed a letter to Governor Winthrop, re-
questing him to visit the city under a flag of truce,
and communicate the contents to Governor Stuy-
vesant. The Dutch governor came out of the fort
to receive the letter, and then returned into the fort
to read it. The following was the letter :
" Mr. Winthrop : —
" As to those particulars you spoke to me, I do assure you that if
the Manhadoes be delivered up to his Majesty, I shall not hinder but
any people from the Netherlands may freely come and plant there
or thereabouts. And such vessels of their own country, may freely
come thither. And any of them may as freely return home, in
vessels of their own country; and this and much more is contained
in the privilege of his Majesty's English subjects. This much you
may, by what means you please, assure the governor from. Sir, your af-
August 22, 1664. O. S.
The Council demanded that this letter should
be exhibited to the people. The governor refused,
Baying that it would be quite unfavorable to the de-
fence to communicate such intelligence to the inhab-
itants. As the council persisted, the governor, in a
298 PETER STUYVESANT.
passion, tore up the letter and trampled it beneath,
his feet. The rumor spread rapidly that a flag of
truce had come.
The citizens collected in a large and excited
gathering, and sent a delegation of three persons to
demand of the governor the communication which
he had received from the hostile fleet. Threats
were uttered. Curses were heard. Resistance was
declared to be madness. The universal voice clam-
ored for the letter. The community was upon the
eve of mutiny.
At length Stuyvesant yielded. A copy of the
letter was made out from the fragments, and it was
read to the people. This increased their disposition
to capitulate. Still the indomitable governor could
not endure the thought of surrendering the majestic
province of New Netherland to a force of four frig-
ates. He regarded the movement, on the part of
the English, as an atrocious act of highway robbery.
But he was well aware that there was no escape
from the sacrifice.
In the night he sent a vessel, " silently through
Ilell Gate," to the Directors in Holland, with the
following laconic dispatch. " Long Island is gone
and lost. The capitol cannot hold out long."
When a man's heart is broken his words are few.
Much of the night the governor spent in draw-
HOSTILE MEASURES COMMENCED.
ing up a strong remonstrance, in answer to the mes-
sage of Colonel Nicholls. All the argument was
with the Dutch. All the force was with the Eng-
lish. But when argument and force come into col-
lision in this wicked world, argument must general-
In the very able manifesto of the governor, he
traced the history of the country from the earliest
period to the present time. He deduced the title
of the Dutch, to the territory, from the three great
principles of Discovery, Settlement, and Purchase
from the Indians. He severely denounced the pre-
tence, now put forth by the English, that his, " Bri-
tannic Majesty had an indisputable right to all the
lands in the north parts of America." Courteously
he added that he was confident that if his Majesty
had been well informed in the premises, his high
sense of justice would have dissuaded him from au-
thorizing the present hostile demonstration. In
conclusion he said,
" In case you will act by force of arms, we protest
before God and man, that you will perform an act
of unjust violence. You will violate the articles of
peace solemnly ratified by his Majesty of England,
and my Lords the States-General. Again for the
prevention of the spilling of innocent blood, not only
here but in Europe, we offer you a treaty by ouf
300 PETER STUYVESANT.
deputies. As regards your threats we have no an-
swer to make, only that we fear nothing but what
God may lay upon us. All things are at His dispo-
sal, and we can be preserved by Him with small
forces as well as by a great army."
The Capture of New Amsterdam.
The ApprJach of the Fleet. — The Governor Unjustly Censured. — The
Flag of Truce. — The Haughty Response. — The Remonstrance. —
The Defenceless City. — The Surrender. — The Expedition to the
Delaware. — Sack and Plunder. — Change of Name. — Testimony
to the Dutch Government. — Death of the Governor. — His farm,
or Bouwerie. — War Between Holland and England. — New York
Menaced by the Dutch.
The only response which Colonel NichoUs
deigned to make to the remonstrance of Governor
Stuyvesant, was to put his fleet in motion. A party
of soldiers, infantry and cavalry, was landed on Long
Island, and they advanced rapidly through the
forest, to the little cluster of huts which were
scattered along the silent and solitary shores of
Brooklyn. These troops were generally volunteers
from Connecticut and from the English settlements
on Long Island.
The fleet then ascended through the Narrows,
and two of the frigates disembarked a number of
regular troops just below Brooklyn, to support the
volunteers. Two of the frigates, one mounting
302 PETER STUYVESANT.
thirty-six guns, and the other thirty, coming up
under full sail, passed directly within range of the
guns of the fort, and cast anchor between the fort
and Nutten or Governor's Island.
Stuyvesant stood at one of the angles of the fort-
ress as the frigates passed by. It was a critical
moment. The fate of the city and the lives of its
inhabitants trembled in the balance. The guns
were loaded and shotted, and the gunners stood by
with their burning matches. A word from the im-
petuous Stuyvesant would have opened upon the
city all the horrors of a bombardment. There were
but about twenty guns in the fort. There were
sixty-six in the two frigates, whose portholes
were opened upon the city ; and there were two
other frigates just at hand, prepared to bring twenty-
eight guns more into the fray.
As Governor Stuyvesant stood at that point,
burning with indignation, with the word to fire
almost upon his lips, the two clergymen of the place,
Messrs. Megapolensis and son, came up and en-
treated him not to be the first to shed blood in a
hopeless conflict. Their persuasions induced the
governor to leave the rampart, and intrusting the
defence of the fort to fifty men, to take the remain-
der of the garrison, one hundred in number, to repel
if possible, the English, should they attempt a land-
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 303
ing. The governor still cherished a faint hope that
some accommodation could yet be agreed upon.
The Directors in Holland subsequently, with
great severity and, as we think, with great injustice,
censured Governor Stuyvesant for his conduct on
this occasion. The whole population of the little
city was but fifteen hundred. Of them not more
than two hundred and fifty were able to bear arms,
in addition to the one hundred and fifty regular
troops in garrison. And yet the Directors in Hol-
land wrote, in the following cruel terms, to the
heroic governor :
" It is an act which can never be justified, that a
Director General should stand between the gabions,
while the hostile frigates pass the fort, and the
mouths of twenty pieces of cannon, and yet give
no orders to prevent it. It is unpardonable that he
should lend his ear to preachers, and other chicken-
hearted persons, demeaning himself as if he were
willing to fire, and yet to allow himself to be led in
from the bulwark between the preachers. When
the frigates had sailed past, he became so troubled
that he must then first go out to prevent their land-
ing. The excuse, that it was resolved not to begin
hostilities, is very poor, for the English had com-
mitted every hostile act."
The governor immediately sent to Colonel
504 PETER STUYVESANT.
Nicholls a flag of truce conveyed by four of the
most distinguished officers of State. Through them
lie said :
" I feel obhged to defend the city, in obedience
to orders. It is inevitable that much blood will be
shed on the occurrence of the assault. Cannot some
accommodation yet be agreed upon ? Friends will
be welcome if they come in a friendly manner."
The laconic, decisive and insulting response of
Colonel Nicholls was : " I have nothing to do but
to execute my mission. To accomplish that I hope
to have further conversation with you on the mor-
row, at the Manhattans. You say that friends will
be welcome, if they come in a friendly manner. I
shall come with ships and soldiers. And he will be
bold indeed who will dare to come on board my
ships, to demand an answer or to solicit terms.
What then is to be done ? Hoist the white flag
of surrender, and then something may be consid
When this imperious message became known it
created the greatest consternation throughout the
city. Men, women and children flocked to the
governor, and, with tears in their eyes, implored
him to submit. A brief bombardment would cause
the death of hundreds, and would lay the city in
ashes. " I had rather,'' the governor replied, " be
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 305
carried a corpse to my grave, than to surrender the
The civic authority, the clergy and the com-
manders of the Burgher corps, promptly assembled
in the City Hall and drew up the following earnest
remonstrance, which was immediately presented to
the governor and his council. We give it slightly
" Right Honorable ! We, your sorrowful sub-
jects, beg to represent, in these sad circumstances,
that having maturely weighed what was necessary
to be done, we cannot foresee, for this fort and city
of Manhattans, in further resistance, aught else than
misery, sorrow, and conflagration ; the dishonor of
women, the murder of children, and in a word the
absolute ruin of fifteen hundred innocent souls, only
two hundred and fifty of whom are capable of bear-
"You are aware that four of the English king's
frigates are now in the roadstead, with six hundred
soldiers on board. They have also commissions
to all the governors of New England, a populous
and thickly inhabited country, to impress troops, in
addition to the forces already on board, for the pur-
pose of reducing New Netherland to his Majesty's
"These threats we would not have regarded,
could we expect the smallest aid. But, God help
us, where shall we turn for assistance, to the north
3(j6 peter stuyvesant.
or to the south, to the east or to the west ? 'Tis
all in vain. On all sides we are encompassed and
hemmed in by our enemies. If, on the other
hand, we examine our internal strength, alas! it is so
feeble and impotent that unless we ascribe t>e cir-
cumstance to the mercy of God, we cannot sufficient
ly express our astonishment that the foe should
have granted us so long a reprieve. He could
have delivered us a prey to the soldiery after one
" We shall now examine your Honors' fortress.
You know that it is incapable of making head three
days, against so powerful an enemy. Even could
it hold out one, two, three, four, five or six months,
which to our sorrow it cannot do, it is still undenia-
ble that it cannot save the smallest portion of our
entire city, our property and what is dearer to us, our
wives and children, from total ruin. And after con-
siderable bloodshed the fort itself could not be pre-
" Wherefore, to prevent the aforesaid misfor-
tunes, we humbly, and in bitterness of heart, implore
your Honors not to reject the conditions of so gen-
erous a foe, but to be pleased to meet him in the
speediest, best and most reputable manner. Other-
wise, which God forbid, we are obliged to protest
before God and the world ; and to call down upon
your Honors the vengeance of Heaven for all the
innocent blood which shall be shed in consequence
of your Honors' obstinacy ; inasmuch as the commis-
sioners have this day informed us that the English
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 307
general has stated that he shall not wait any long-
er than this day.
" We trust your Honors will not question that to
God, who seeks not the death of the sinner, belongs
obedience rather than to man. We feel certain
that your Honors will exhibit yourselves, in this
pressing exigency and sorrowful season, as men and
christians, and conclude with God's help, an honor-
able and reasonable capitulation. May the Lord
our God be pleased to grant this to us, Amen "
The above memorial was signed by ninety-four
of the most prominent citizens of New Amsterdam
One of these signers was the governor's son. All
our readers will perceive that the situation of the
governor had become one of extreme difficulty. A
fleet and army of great strength for the time and
the occasion were before him. This force held in
reserve the whole military power of New England.
The civic officers and citizens of New Amsterdam,
headed by the governor's own son, were loud in
their remonstrance against any defence, and were
almost in a state of mutiny.
The condition of the city was such that the idea
of standing a siege was not for a moment to be
thought of Along the banks of the North and
East rivers, the village, for the little cluster of three
hundred houses was but a village, was entirely
308 PETER STUVyESANT.
exposed. Upon the land side, running from river to
river, there was a slight fence composed of old and
decayed palisades, which scores of years before had
been a protection against the savages. In front of
this fence there were the remains of a storm-washed
breastwork, about three feet high and two feet wide.
The crumbling fort was pronounced by all to be
untenable. It was originally constructed as a retreat
from the savages, who could only assail it with
arrows and hatchets and a few musket balls. It was
surrounded by an earthen rampart, about ten feet
high and three or four feet thick. In all, there were
twenty-four cannons within the enclosure, which
was unprotected by any ditch or palisades. In the
rear, where the throngs of Broadway now press
along, there was a series of forest-crowned eminences
whose solitary summits were threaded by an Indian
trail. These hills commanded the fort. From their
crests the soles of the feet, it was said, of those
walking in the squares within, could be seen. There
were not five hundred pounds of powder in store fit
for use. The gunners declared that a few hours of
fighting would exhaust it all. The stock of provis-
ions was equally low, and there was not a well of
water within the fort.
.It is probable that the majority of common sol-
diers, in almost any regular army, is composed of
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 3C9
dissolute worthless men. There are but few persons
but the lost and the reckless who will enlist to spend
their days in shouldering a musket. A young man
of good character can do better than convert himself
into a part of such a military machine. The garri-
son at New Amsterdam was composed of the off-
scouring of Europe. They were ready to fight
under any banner which would pay them. They
were eager for the conflict with the English. At
the first volley they would throw aside their guns
and join the English in the plunder. One of them
was heard saying to an applauding group :
" Now we hope for a chance to pepper these
devilish Dutch traders. They have salted us too
long. We know where their booty is stored. And
we know also where the young girls live who wear
Under these circumstances the governor was
compelled to yield. He appointed six commission-
ers to confer with the same number of the English.
The parties met at Governor Stuyvesant's residence
on his farm or bouwerie, at eight o'clock in the
morning of August 27th. The terms were speedily
settled, for the English would enforce any demands
which they were disposed to make. There were
twenty-three articles of agreement, entering into
many details. The substance was that New Nether-
3 to PETER STUYVESANT.
land passed over entirely to the English. The
Dutch retained their property. If any chose to
leave the country they could do so. The ships of
the Dutch merchants could, for the six months next
ensuing, trade freely with the Netherlands, as here-
tofore. The people were to be allowed liberty of
conscience in divine worship and church discipline.
No Dutchman should be impressed to serve in war
against any nation whatever. All the inferior civil
officers were allowed to continue in office until
the next election, when they would be required to
take the oath of allegiance to the king of Eng-
The next day was Sunday. These articles were
therefore not ratified until eight o'clock Monday
morning. It was agreed that within two hours
after the ratification, " the fort and town called New
Amsterdam, upon the island of Manhatoes,'' should
be delivered up. The military officers of the fort,
and the soldiers were to be permitted to march from
their intrenchments with their arms, drums beating
and colors flying.
Colonel Nicholls took possession of the govern-
ment. He changed the name of the city from New
Amsterdam to New York, in honor of the Duke of
York, the brother of the King of England. The fort
was called fort James. Colonel Nicholls became
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 311
the deputy governor for James, the Duke of York,
in administering the affairs of the extended realms
which the British government had thus perfidiously
seized. We regret to say, but history will bear us
out in the assertion, that there is no government
in Christendom whose annals are sullied with so
many acts of unmitigated villany as the government
of Great Britain.
Colonel Nicholls immediately sent an armed
force up the river, to take possession of fort Orange ;
and another to the Delaware, to unfurl the English
flag over New Amstel. The name of fort Orange
was changed to fort Albany, the second title of the
Duke of York. Three frigates were sent to the
Delaware. The severest punishment was denounc-
ed against the Dutch and Swedes there, should they
make any resistance. The same terms were offered
them which were granted to the people at New
The command of this expedition was entrusted
to Sir Robert Carr. Notwithstanding the sacred
stipulations into which Carr had entered, he tram-
pled them all beneath his feet. Governor Stuyve-
" At New Amstel, on the South river, notwith-
standing they offered no resistance, but demanded
good treatment, which however they did not obtain,
312 PETER STUYVESANT.
they were invaded, stript bare, plundered, and many
of them sold as slaves in Virginia.''
This testimony is corroborated by a London
document, which says, " From the city and the in-
habitants thereabout were taken one hundred sheep,
thirty or forty horses, fifty or sixty cows and oxen,
between sixty and seventy negroes, the brew-house
still-house and all the material thereunto belonging.
The produce of the land, such as corn, hay, etc., was
also seized for the king's use, together with the
cargo that was unsold, and the bills of what had
been disposed of, to the value of four thousand
" The Dutch soldiers were taken prisoners, and
given up to the merchant-man that was there, in
payment for his services ; and they were transport-
ed into Virginia to be sold. All sorts of tools for
handicraft tradesmen, and all plough gear, and
other things to cultivate the ground, which were in
store in great quantity, were likewise seized, togeth-
er with a sawmill ready to set up, and nine sea
buoys with their iron chains.
" Even the inoffensive Menonists, though thor-
oughly non-combatant from principle, did not es-
cape the sack and plunder to which the whole
river was subjected by Carr and his co-maraud-
ers. A boat was dispatched to their settlement,
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 313
which was stripped of everything, even to a very
At New Amsterdam, Colonel Nicholls paid more
respect to the terms of the treaty. Citizens, resid-
ing there, were not robbed of their private prop-
erty. But the gentlemen of the West India Com-
pany, in Holland, found all their property merciless-
ly confiscated. Colonel Nicholls seized on every-
thing upon which he could lay his hand. He seem-
ed anxious to eradicate every vestige of the former
power. This property was sold at auction that it
might thus be distributed among a large number of
individual owners. The Colonel shrewdly imagined
that he might thus in( crest all these persons in the
maintenance of the now power.
History has but on'i voice, and that of the
severest condemnation, jn reference to these transac-
tions on the part o' thv' English government. Mr.
O'Callaghan writes :
" Thus was fitly consummat.°d an act of spoliation
which, in a period of profound peace^ wrested this
province from the rightful owners, by violating all
public justice and infringing ail public law. The
cnl}- additional outrage that rom.Miod was to im-
pose on the country the name cf cr.t iinknown in
history, save as a bigot and a tyrant , J.t enemy of
religious and political freedom whefixc-- h« rul-
314 PETER STUYVESANT.
ed. New Netherland was accordingly called New
Hon. Benjamin F. Butler, in his outline of the
State of New York writes, " In the history of the
royal ingrates by whom it was planned and for
whose benefit it was perpetrated, there are few acts
more base, none more characteristic.''
Mr. Brodhead, in his admirable History of the
State of New York, says, " The flag of England was,
at length, triumphantly displayed where for half a
century that of Holland had triumphantly waved ;
and from Virginia to Canada, the king of Great
Britain was acknowledged as sovereign. Whatever
may have been its ultimate consequences, this
treacherous and violent seizure of the territory and
possessions of an unsuspecting ally, was no less a
breach of private justice than of public faith. It
may indeed be affirmed that, among all the acts of
selfish perfidy which royal ingratitude conceived
and executed, there have been few more character-
istic and none more base."
Thus the Dutch dominion in North America
passed forever away. I cannot refrain from quoting
the just tribute to the Dutch government contained
in Mr. Brodhead's History. " Holland," he writes,
" has long been the theme for the ridicule of British
writers ; and even in this country the character and
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 315
manners of the Dutch have been made the subjects
of an unworthy depreciation. Yet, without under-
valuing others, it may confidently be claimed that,
to no nation in the world is the Republic of the
West more indebted than to the United Provinces,
for the idea of the confederation of sovereign
States ; for noble principles of constitutional free-
dom ; for magnanimous sentiments of religious toler-
ation ; for characteristic sympathy with subjects of
oppression ; for liberal doctrines in trade and com-
merce ; for illustrious patterns of public integrity
and private virtue, and for generous and timely aid
in the establishment of independence. Nowhere
among the people of the United States can men be
found excelling in honesty, industry, courtesy or
accomplishment, the posterity of the early Dutch
settlers of New Netherland."
Soon after the surrender, Governor Stuyvesant
was recalled to Europe to vindicate his conduct.
The severest charges were brought against him.
He addressed to the States-General an " Account of
the Circumstances preceding the surrender of New
Netherland." It was a triumphant vindication of
his conduct. But the unfortunate are rarely treated
with justice. The pride of Holland was deeply
touched by the loss of its North American posses-
sions. Governor Stuyvesant soon returned to New
3l6 PETER STUYVESANT.
York, and lived in much seclusion in his spacious
house on his farm, until he died, in the year 1672.
The governor's remains were entombed at his
chapel in the Bouwery, novi^ St. Mark's Church.
There v/ere two roads which led from the fort at
the Battery, to the northern part of the island.
One of these followed along the present line of
Broadway to what is now the Park, which was at
that time a large unenclosed open field far out of
town called the Common. The road then wound
along by the southeastern side of the common and
by the line of Chatham street and the Bouwery out
to Harlaem. This became eventually the ''Old
Post Road" to Boston. Governor Stuyvesant's
Bouwery consisted of many acres of land. The
farm embraced the land in the region of Third avenue
and Thirteenth street. In the spring of 1647, a pear
tree was planted upon this spot, which was long
known as " Stuyvesant's pear tree.'' For more than
two centuries it continued to bear fruit. In its lat-
ter years, this venerable relic of the past was
cherished with the utmost care. It presented many
touching indications of its extreme old age. In its
two hundred and twentieth year it bloomed for
the last time. " Since the fall of the tree," writes
Mr. Stone, " a promising shoot from the ancient
stock has taken its place, and shows a hardy vigor
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 317
which may yet enable it to rival its progenitor in
In the year 1665, the year which followed the
capture of the city, war broke out between England
and Holland. It was then generally expected that
the States of Holland would make an attempt to re-
cover the lost territory of New Netherland. It was
rumored that De Ruyter, one of the Dutch Admi-
rals, had actually set sail, with a large squadron, for
New York. The rumor caused great commotion
in the city. The national spirit of the Dutch resi-
dents was roused to intensity. De Ruyter had in-
deed sailed with the object of recapturing the prov
Colonel Nicholls was a man of great energy. He
immediately commenced with all vigor, the work of
repairing the crumbling fortifications, and of erect-
ing new ones. But he found none to co-operate
heartily with him, save the few English soldiers,
whose bayonets held the conquered province in sub-
jection. A meeting of all the Dutch inhabitants
was called to ascertain the tone of public sentiment,
and to endeavor to inspire the community with
some enthusiasm for the defence.
But no enthusiasm was elicited. The Dutch
were not at all unwilling that their countrymen
should come back and reclaim their own. Even to
3l8 PETER STUYVESANT.
defend the.Tiselves from the humiliation oT con-
quest, by their English assailants, they had not
been willing to submit to a bombardment. Much
less were they now willing to subject themselves
to the horrors of war, when the flag of Holland was
approaching for their deliverance. They did not
venture however, openly to oppose the ruler whom
the fortunes of war had set over them, or to express
sympathy for the success of the approaching fleet,
which might be pronounced treason, and might ex-
pose them to severe punishment.
They contented themselves with manifesting en-
tire indifference, or in offering sundry excuses.
They very sensibly assumed the ground that they
were a feeble defenceless colony, far away in the
wilderness, entirely unable to cope with the forces
which the great maritime powers of England or Hol-
land might send against them. When an English
fleet opened the portholes of its broadsides upon
their little village, they could do nothing but sur-
render. Should a fleet from Holland now anchor in
their waters they must let events take their natural
Cokvnel NichoUs, as governor, had gifts of honor
and opuknce in his hands. As was to have been
expected, there were a few Dutch citizens who were
•wger to gi-^tify the governor by co-operating with
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 319
'tim in all his plans. This number, however, was
small. The great mass of the citizens assumed an
air of indifference, while, in heart, they longed for
the appearance of the Dutch fleet in such strength
as to render resistance impossible.
But either the storms of the ocean, or some
other engagements, arrested the progress of the
squadron, until after the rupture between England
and Holland was temporarily healed. Colonel Nich-
olls remained in command at New York about four
years. His administration was as popular as could
reasonably have been expected under the circum-
stances. He gradually relaxed the severity of his
rule, and wisely endeavored to promote the prosper-
ity of the colony. The conquest had retarded the
tide of emigration from Holland, and had given a
new impulse to that from England. The Dutch
gradually became reconciled to his rule. They en-
joyed all the rights and immunities which were con-
ferred upon any of the subjects of England in her
American colonies. Out of respect to the governor
they organized two militia companies, the officers
of which were from the most distinguished of the
Dutch citizens, and they received their commissions
In August of 1668, Colonel Nicholls, at his own
request, was recalled, and he returned to Englmd.
320 PETER STUYVESANT.
The Dutch did not love him, for they never could
forget the circumstances under which he had con-
quered their province. But he had won their re-
spect. As he embarked for the shores of England
the great body of the citizens complimented him
by a respectful leave-taking.
Colonel Nicholls was succeeded in the govern-
ment of the province, by Colonel Francis Lovelace.
He was an English officer of respectable abilities,
and of worthy character. Under his sway. New
York for five years, until 1673, enjoyed prosperity
and peace. New agitations then took place.
The peace, of which we have spoken, between
England and Holland, was of but transient duration.
In 1672 war was again declared by England. The
conflict which ensued was mainly upon the ocean.
New York had so grown since its conquest by the
English, and could so easily be reinforced by
almost any number of men from populous New Eng-
land, that the Dutch did not think that there was
any chance of their then being able to regain the
colony. They, however, fitted out a fleet of five
ships, to cruise along the coast of North America,
destroy the English, and inflict such injury upon
any and all of the English colonies as might be in
Governor Lovelace had no idea that any Dutch
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 32 1
ships would venture through the Narrows. He
made no special effort to strengthen the defences
of New York. Early in February he went to West-
chester county, to visit at the residence of his
friend Mr. Pell. This was quite a journey in those
days. The command of the fort was entrusted,
during his absence to Captain John Manning.
A vessel entered the port, bringing the intelli-
gence that a Dutch fleet had been seen off the coast
of Virginia, sailing in the direction of New York.
This created great commotion. A dispatch was
sent, in the utmost haste, to the governor, summon-
ing his return. He promptly mustered, for the de-
fence, all the forces he could raise in the city and
neighboring counties, and soon five hundred armed
men were parading the streets of New York.
It proved a false dream. No enemy appeared.
The troops were disbanded. They returned to their
homes. The community was lulled into a very
false sense of security. In July, the governor again
was absent, on a visit to Connecticut. On the 29th
of July the Dutch fleet appeared at Sandy Hook,
and, learning from some of the inhabitants of Long
Island, whose sympathies were still cordially with
tlie fatherland, that the city was entirely defenceless
and could easily be taken, ventured to try the ex-
periment. They had not approached the bay with
322 PETER STUYVESANT.
any such design. They had supposed their force
entirely inadequate for so important a capture. The
fleet quietly sailed up the bay and, as the English
fleet had done but a few years before, anchored op-
posite the Battery, and turned their broadsides to-
wards the city.
Colonel Manning sent a hurried despatch to the
governor, who could by no possibility return for sev-
eral days, and fluttered about in the attempt to
beat up recruits. But no recruits were forthcom-
ing. The sight of the flag of Holland, again tri-
umphantly floating in the harbor, was joyful to
The great majority of the people, in the city and
in the country, were of Dutch descent. Consequent-
ly the recruiting parties which were raised, were in
no mood to peril their lives in defence of the flag o'
England. Indeed it is said that one party of the
recruits marched to the Battery and deliberately
spiked several of the guns, opposite the City-hall.
It was a most singular revolution of the wheel
of fortune. Captain Manning had but fifty soldiers
within the fort. None of these were willing to fight.
One-half of them were such raw recruits that cap-
tain Manning said that they had never put their
heads over the ramparts. A few broadsides from
the Dutch fleet would dismount every gun in the
THE CAPTURE OF NEW AMSTERDAM. 323
fort, and put to flight all the defenders who should
survive the volley. This was alike obvious to the
assailants and the assailed.
The Final Surrender.
The Summons. — The Bombardment. — Disembarkation of the Land
Force. — Indecision of Captain Manning. — The Surrender.—
Short Administration of the Dutch. — Social Customs. — The Tea
Party.— Testimony of Travellers. — Visit to Long Island. —
Fruitfulness of the Country. — Exploration of Manhattan Isl-
The Dutch ships, having anchored and prepared
themselves for the immediate opening of the bom-
bardment, a boat was sent on shore with a flag of
truce, to demand the surrender of the city. At the
same time a boat was sent by Colonel Manning,
from the fort to the ships. The boats passed each
other without any interchange of words. Colonel
Manning's boat bore simply the message to the
Dutch Admirals, " Why do you come in such a hos-
tile manner to disturb his Majesty's subjects in this
place ? " As England and Holland were then en.
gaged in open war, one would hardly think that such
an inquiry was then called for. When Colonel
Nicholls came to New Amsterdam with his English
fleet, the two nations were in friendly alliance.
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 325
Such a question then would have been very appro-
The boat from the Dutch fleet bore a flag of
truce at its stern, and was accompanied by a trum-
peter, who asked for the English officer in command
and presented the following message to Colonel
"The force of war, now lying in your sight, is
sent by the High and Mighty States-General and
his serene Highness the Prince of Orange, for the
purpose of destroying their enemies. We have sent
you therefore, this letter, together with our trum-
peter, to the end that, upon the sight hereof, you
surrender unto us the fort called James, promising
good quarter ; or by your refusal we shall be obliged
to proceed, both by land and water, in such manner
as we shall find to be most advantageous for the
High and Mighty States."
Captain Manning returned an answer simply
acknowledging the receipt of the message, and
informing the Dutch Admirals that he had already
dispatched officers to communicate with him. He
promised upon the return of those messengers to
give a definite reply to his summons.
The Dutch Admirals, Benckes and Evertson,
were not disposed to waste any time in parleying.
They probably remembered the circumstances under
326 l-ETER STUYVESANT.
which the province of New Netherland had been
wrested from them by its present possessois, and
they rejoiced that the hour of retribution had thus
They therefore sent back word that their bat-
teries were loaded and shotted and ready to open
fire ; that one half hour and one half hour only,
would be granted for deliberation ; that immediately
upon the arrival of the boat at the fort the half
hour glass would be turned up ; and that if, when
its last sands fell, the white flag of surrender were
not raised upon the fort, the bombardment would be
The last sands fell and no white flag appeared.
Instantly the thunder of a cannon echoed over the
bay, and a storm of iron hail came crashing upon
the frail fort, killing and wounding a number of men.
Volley after volley succeeded without any intermis-
sion. Captain Manning made no attempt to return
the fire. He and his powerless garrison hurried to
places of safety, leaving the ramparts to be ploughed
up and the barracks to be battered down without
While this caririohade was going on, the Dutch
Admirals manned their boats with a land force of
six hundred men, and they were disembarked upon
the shore of the island without encountering any
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 327
foe. The little band of English soldiers was pov/er-
less, and the Dutch inhabitants were much more
disposed to welcome their countrymen as deliverers
than to oppose them as enemies. These Dutch
troops were armed with hand grenades and such
other weapons as were deemed necessary to take
the place by storm. Rapidly they marched through
the fields to the Common, now called the Park. It
was, as we have mentioned, nearly a mile north from
Here they formed in column to march upon
the town, under their leader, Captain Colve. The
English commander. Captain Manning, sent three
of his subordinate officers, without any definite
message, to Captain Colve, to talk over the question
of a capitulation. It would seem that Captain Man-
ning was quite incompetent for the post he occupied.
He was bewildered and knew not what to do. As
his envoys had no proposals to make, two of them
were detained and held under the Dutch standard,
while the third. Captain Carr, was sent back to
inform the English commander that if in one quar-
ter of an hour the place were not surrendered, it
would be taken by storm. In the meantime the
troops were put upon the march.
Captain Carr, aware of the indecision of Captain
Manning and of the personal peril he, as an English
328 PETER STUYVESANT.
man, would encounter, with six hundred Dutch
soldiers sweeping the streets, burning with the desire
to avenge past wrongs, did not venture back into
the town with his report, but fled into the interior
of the island. The troops pressed on to the head
of Broadway, where a trumpeter was sent forward
to receive the answer to the summons which it was
supposed had been made. He speedily returned,
saying that the commander of the fort had, as yet,
obtained no answer from the commissioners he had
sent to receive from the Dutch commander his
Captain Colve supposed that he was trifled with.
Indignantly he exclaimed " They are not to play the
fool with us in this way, forward march." With
the beat of drums and trumpet peals and waving
banners his solid columns marched down the Broad-
way road to the little cluster of about three hundred
houses, at the extreme southern point of the island.
An army of six hundred men at that time and place
presented a very imposing and terrible military
array. In front of his troops the two commissioners
who had been detained, were marched under guard.
As they approached the fort, Captain Manning
sent another flag of truce to the Dutch commander,
with the statement that he was ready to surrender
the fort with all its arms and ammunition, if the
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 329
officers and soldiers were permitted to march out
with their private property and to the music of their
band. These terms were acceded to. The English
troops, with no triumphal strains, vacated the fort.
The Dutch banners soon waved from the ramparts,
cheered by the acclaim of the conquerors.
Captain Manning was, in his turn, as severely
censured by the people of the English colonies in
America, and by the home government, as Governor
Stuyvesant had been on the day of his misfortune.
English pride was grievously mortified, that the
commandant of an English fort should allow him-
self to be fired upon for hours without returning a
The unfortunate captain was subsequently tried
by court-martial for cowardice and treachery. He
was condemned. His sword was broken over his
head and he was declared incompetent forever to
hold any station of trust or authority under the
governmeait. Governor Lovelace was condemned
for neglect of duty. He received a severe repri-
mand, and all his property was confiscated to the
Duke of York.
The victorious Dutch commanders appointed
Captain Colve as governor of recaptured New Neth-
erland. With great energy he commenced his rule.
The name of New York was changed to New
330 PETER STUVVESANT.
Orange, and fort James became fort Hendrick.
Work was immediately commenced upon the fortifi-
cations, and large sums of money were expended
upon them, so that within two months they were
deemed so strong that it was thought that no
English fleet would dare to venture within range
of their guns. The whole city assumed the aspect
of a military post. Nearly every citizen was trained
to arms. The Common, now the Park, was the pa-
rade ground where the troops were daily drilled. It
was very firmly resolved that the city should not
again surrender without the firing of a gun.
The municipal institutions were all re-organized
to conform to those of the fatherland. This second
administration of the Dutch was of but short dura-
tion. On the 9th of January, 1674, but about three
months after the re-capture of the city, a treaty of
peace was signed between England and Holland.
The sixth article of this treaty read as follows,
" Whatsoever countries, islands, ports, towns,
castles or forts have been taken on both sides, since
the time that the late unhappy war broke out, either
in Europe or elsewhere, shall be restored to the
former lord or proprietor in the same condition they
shall be in when peace itself shall be proclaimed."
Several months however transpired before the
actual re-surrender of the city to the English. On
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 33 1
the loth of November, 1674, a little more than one
year after the capture of the city by the Dutch,
this change took place. Mr. David V. Valentine
" This event was not distasteful to the great
body of the citizens, whose national sentiment had,
in a measure, given way before the obvious
advantages to their individual interests of hav-
ing a settled authority established over them,
with the additional privilege of English institu-
tions which were then considered of a liberal ten-
In conclusion, we have but a few words to say
respecting the manners and customs in the thriving
little village of New York, in these primitive days.
People were then, to say the least, as happy as they
are now. Food was abundant, and New York was
far-famed for its cordial hospitality. Days of recre-
ation were more abundant than now. The principal
social festivals were "quilting," "apple paring."
and " husking." Birthdays, christenings, and mar-
riage anniversaries were also celebrated with much
festivity. Upon most of these occasions there was
abundant feasting. Dancing was the favorite amuse-
ment, with which the evening was almost invariably
terminated. In this busy community the repose of
the night was necessary to prepare for the labors of
332 PETER STUYVESANT.
the ensuing day. The ringing of the nine o'clock
bell was the signal for all to retire.
A mild form of negro slavery existed in those
days. The slaves danced to the music of their rude
instruments in the markets. The young men and
maidens often met on the Bowling green and danced
around the May pole. Turkey shooting was a fa-
vorite amusement, which usually took place on the
Common. New Year's Day was devoted to the in-
terchange of visits. Every door was thrown open,
and all guests were welcome, friends as well as
strangers, as at a Presidential levee. This custom
of olden time has passed down to us from our wor-
thy Dutch predecessors. Dinner parties were un-
known. But tea-parties, with the ladies, were very
" To take tea out,'' writes Mr. William L. Stone,
in his interesting History of New York, " was a
Dutch institution, and one of great importance.
The matrons, arrayed in their best petticoats and lin-
sey jackets, home-spun by their own wheels, would
proceed on the intended afternoon visit. They wore
capacious pockets, with scissors, pin-cushion and
keys hanging from their girdle, outside of their
dress ; and reaching the neighbor's house the visit-
ors industriously used knitting needles and tongues
at the same time. The village gossip was talked
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 333
over ; neighbors' affairs settled, and the stockings
finished by tea-time, when the important meal ap-
peared on the table, precisely at six o'clock.
" This was always the occasion for the display of
the family plate, with the Lilliputian cups, of rare
old family china, out of which the guests sipped the
fragrant herb. A large lump of loaf sugar invaria-
bly accompanied each cup, on a little plate, and tiie
delightful beverage was sweetened by an occasional
nibble, amid the more solid articles of waffles and
Dutch doughnuts. The pleasant visit finished, the
visitors donning cloaks and hoods, as bonnets were
unknown, proceeded homeward in time for milking
and other necessary household du^'ies.
'' The kitchen fire-places were of immense size
large enough to roast a whole sheep. The hooks
and trammels sustained large iron pots and kettles.
In the spacious chimney-corners the children and
negroes gathered, telling stories and cracking nuts
by the blazing pine-knots, while the industrious vrows
turned the merry spinning-wheel, and their lords,
the worthy burghers, mayhap just returned from an
Indian scrimmage, quietly smoked their long pipes,
as they sat watching the wreaths curHng above their
heads. At length the clock with its brazen tongue
having proclaimed the hour of nine, family prayers
were said, and all retired, to rise with the dawn."
334 PETER STU.YVESANT.
In the summer of 1679, but five years after iLt
final accession of New Netherland by the English,
two gentlemen from Holland, as the committee of a
religious sect, visited the Hudson river, to report
respecting the condition of the country, and to se-
lect a suitable place for the establishment of a col-
ony. They kept a minute journal of their daily ad-
ventures. From their narrative one can obtain a
very vivid picture of New York life two hundred
On Saturday, the 23d day of September, they
landed at New York, and found it a very strange
place. A fellow passenger, whose name was Ger-
ritt, and who was on his return from Europe, resided
in New York. He took the travellers to the house
of one of his friends, where they were regaled with
very luscious peaches, and apples far better than
any they had seen in Holland. They took a walk
out into the fields and were surprised to see how
profusely the orchards were laden with fruit. They
took up lodgings with the father-in-law of their fel-
low-traveller, and in the evening were regaled with
rich milk. The next day was Sunday.
" We walked awhile," they write, " in the pure
mountain air, along the margin of the clear running
water of the sea, which is driven up this river at
every tide. We went to church and found truly
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 335
there a wild worldly people. I say wild, not only
because the people are wild, as they call it in Eu-
rope, but because most all the people who go there,
partake somewhat of the nature of the country; that
is peculiar to the land where they live.''
The preacher did not please them. " He used
such strange gestures and language,'' writes one of
them, " that I think I never in my life heard anything
more miserable. As it is not strange in these coun-
tries, to have men as ministers, who drink, we could
imagine nothing else than that he had been drinking
a little this morning. His text was Come unto me
all yc, etc.; but he was so rough that the rough-
est and most godless of our sailors were aston-
" The church being in the fort, we had an oppor-
tunity to look through the latter, as we had come
too early for preaching. The fort is built upon the
point formed by the two rivers, namely the East
river, which is the water running between the Man-
hattans and Long Island, and the North river,
which runs straight up to fort Orange. In front of
the fort there is a small island called Nut Island.
Around the point of this vessels must sail in going
out or in, whereby they are compelled to pass close
by the point of the fort, where they can be flanked
by several of the batteries. It has only one gate
336 PETER STUYVESANT.
and that is on the land side, opening upon a broad
lane or street, called the Broadway.''
They went to church again in the afternoon.
" After preaching," they write, " the good old people
with whom we lodged, who, indeed if they were not
the best on all the Manhattan, were at least among
the best, especially the wife, begged we would go
with their son Gerrit, to one of their daughters who
lived in a delightful place and kept a tavern, where
we would be able to taste the beer of New Nether-
land. So we went, for the purpose of seeing what
was to be seen. But when we arrived there we
were much deceived. On account of its being, to
some extent, a pleasant spot, it was resorted to on
Simdays by all sorts of revellers and was a low pot-
house. It being repugnant to our feehngs to be
there, we walked into the orchard, to seek pleasure
in contemplating the innocent objects of nature. A
great storm of rain coming up in the evening, we
retraced our steps in the dark, exploring our way
through a salt meadow, and over water upon the
trunk of a tree."
On Thursday the 26th, our two travellers, at two
o'clock in the afternoon, crossed East river to visit
Long Island. The fare in the ferry-boat, which was
rowed across, was three stivers, less than half a cent
of our money, for each person. They climbed the
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 337
hill and walked along through an open road and a
little woods to " the first village, called Breukelen,
which has a small and ugly little church in the
middle of the road." The island was then mostly
inhabited by Indians. There were several flourish-
ing farms in the vicinity of Brooklyn, which they
visited and where they were bountifully regaled with
milk, cider, fruit, tobacco and " first and most of all,
miserable rum, brought from Barbadoes, and which
is called by the Dutch kill devil."
The peach orchards were breaking down beneath
the burden of luscious fruit. They often could not
step without trampling upon the peaches, and yet
the trees were full as they could bear. Though the
swine were fattened upon them, still large numbers
perished upon the ground. In the evening they
went on to a place called Gouanes, where they were
very hospitably entertained. It was a chill evening,
and they found a brilliant fire of hickory wood
crackling upon the hearth.
" There had already been thrown upon it," they
write, " a pail full of Gouanes oysters, which are the
best in the country. They are large, some of them
not less than a foot long, and they grow, sometimes
ten, twelve and sixteen together, and are then like
a piece of rock. We had for supper a roasted
haunch of venison which weighed thirty pounds,
338 PETER STUYVESANT.
and which he had bought of the Indians for fifteen
cents. The meat was exceedingly tender and good
and quite fat. We were served also with wild
turkey, which was also fat and of a good flavor, and
a wild goose. Everything we had was the natural
production of the country. We saw lying in a heap,
a hill of watermelons as large as pumpkins. It was
late at night when we went to rest, in a Kermis bed,
as it is called, in the corner of the hearth, alongside
of a good fire."
The next morning they threaded their way
through the forest, and along the shore to the ex-
treme west end of the island, where fort Hamilton
now stands. They passed through a large planta-
tion, of the Najack Indians, which was waving with
corn. A noise of pounding drew them to a place
where a very aged Indian woman was beating beans
out of the pods with a stick, which she did with
amazing dexterity. Near by was the little cluster
of houses of the dwindling tribe. The village con-
sisted of seven or eight huts, occupied by between
twenty and thirty Indians, men, women and chil-
These huts were about sixty feet long and fifteen
wide. The floor was of earth. 'The posts were large
limbs of trees, planted firmly in the ground. The
sides were of reeds and the bark of trees. An open
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 339
space, about six inches wide, ran along the whole
length of the roof, for the passage of smoke. On
the sides the roof was so low that ajnan could not
stand under it.
"They build their fire in the middle of the floor,
according to the number of families which live in
the hut ; not only the families themselves, but each
Indian alone, according as he is hungry, at all hours
morning, noon and night. They lie upon mats with
their feet towards the fire. All in one house, are
generally of one stock, as father and mother, with
their offspring. Their bread is maize, pounded by a
stone, which is mixed with water and baked under
the hot ashes."
" They gave us a small piece when we entered ;
and although the grains were not ripe, and it was
half-baked and coarse grains, we nevertheless had to
eat it, or at least not throw it away before them,
which they would have regarded as a great sin, or
a greaf affront. We chewed a little of it with long
teeth, and managed to hide it so that they did not
On Wednesday a farmer harnessed his horse
to a wagon and carried them back to the city.
The road led through the forest and over very rough
and stony hills, making the ride quite uncomforta-
ble. Passing again through the little village of
340 PETER STUYVESANT.
Breukelen, they crossed the ferry and reached home
about noon. On Friday they took an exploring
tour through the island of Manhattan. Their pleas-
ant description is worth transcribing.
" This island is about seven hours distance in
length, but it is not a full hour broad. The sides
are indented with bays, coves and creeks. It is al-
most entirely taken up, that is the land is held by
private owners, but not half of it is cultivated.
Much of it is good woodland. The west end, on
which the city lies, is entirely cleared, for more than
an hour's distance, though that is the poorest
ground ; the best being on the east and north side.
There are many brooks of fresh water running
through it, pleasant and proper for man and beast
to drink ; as well as agreeable to behold, affording
cool and pleasant resting places, but especially suita-
ble places for the construction of mills, for though
there is no overflow of water, it can be used.
" A little east of New Harlaem, there are two
ridges of very high rocks, with a considerable space
between them, displaying themselves very majestic-
ally, and inviting all men to acknowledge in them
the grandeur, power and glory of the Creator, who
has impressed such marks upon them. Between
them runs the road to Spuyt denDuyvel. The one to
the north is the most apparent. The south ridge is
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 34I
covered with earth on its north side, but it can be
seen from the water or from the mainland beyond
to the south. The soil between these ridges is very
good, though a little hilly and stony. It would be
very suitable, in my opinion, for planting vineyards,
in consequence of its being shut off on both sides,
from the winds which would most injure them ; and
it is very warm. We found blue grapes along the
road, which were very good and sweet, and as good
as any I have tasted in the fatherland.
" We went from the city, following the Broadway,
over the valley or the fresh water. Upon both sides
of this way there were many habitations of negroes,
mulattoes and whites. The negroes were formerly
the slaves of the West India Company. But, in
consequence of the frequent changes and conquests
of the country, they have obtained their freedom,
and settled themselves down where they thought
proper, and thus on this road, where they have grown
enough to live on with their families. We left the
village called Bowery on the right hand, and went
through the woods to Harlaem, a tolerably large
village situated directly opposite the place where the
northeast creek and the East river come together.
It is about three hours' journey from New Amster-
From the account which these gentlemen give,
342 PETER STUYVESANT.
the morals of the people certainly do not appear to
have been essentially better than now. They passed
the night at the house of the sheriff. " This house
was constantly filled with people all the time drink-
ing, for the most part, that execrable rum. He had
also the best cider we have tasted. Among the
crowd we found a person of quality, an Englishman,
named Captain Carteret, whose father is in great
favor with the king. The king has given his father,
Sir George Carteret, the entire government of the
lands west of the North river in New Netherland,
with power to appoint as governor whom he pleases.
" This son is a very profligate person. He mar-
ried a merchant's daughter here, and has so lived
with his wife that her father has been compelled to
take her home again. He runs about among the
farmers and stays where he can find most to drink,
and sleeps in barns on the straw. If he conducted
himself properly, he could be, not only governor
here, but hold higher positions, for he has studied
the moralities and seems to have been of a good
understanding. But that is all now drowned. His
father, who will not acknowledge him as his son,
allows him yearly as much only as is necessary for
him to live on."
Saturday morning they set out from Harlaem
village to go to the northern extremity of the island.
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 343
" Before we left we did not omit supplying ourselves
with peaches, which grew in an orchard along the
road. The whole ground was covered with them
and with apples lying upon the new grain with
which the orchard was planted. The peaches were
the most delicious we had yet eaten. We proceeded
on our way and when we were not far from the point
of Spuyt den Duyvel^ we could see on our left the
rocky cliffs of the mainland, and on the other side
of the North river these cliffs standing straight up
and down, with the grain just as if they were anti-
" We crossed over the Spuyt den Duyvel in a
canoe, and paid nine stivers fare for us three, which
was very dear.* We followed the opposite side of
the land and came to the house of one Valentyn.
He had gone to the city ; but his wife was so much
rejoiced to see Hollanders that she hardly knew
what to do for us. She set before us what she had.
We left after breakfasting there. Her son showed
us the way, and we came to a road entirely covered
with peaches. We asked a boy why he let them lie
there and why he did not let the hogs eat them.
He answered 'We do not know what to do with
them; there are so many. The hogs are satiated with
them and will not eat any more.'
♦ Tliis was one cent and a half for the three, or half a cent each.
344 PETER STUYVESANT.
" We pursued our way now a small distance,
through the woods and over the hills, then back
again along the shore to a point where an English
man lived, who was standing ready to cross over.
He carried us over with him and refused to take any
pay for our passage, offering us at the same time,
some of his rum, a liquor which is everywhere. We
were now again at Harlaem, and dined with the
sheriff, at whose house we had slept the night before.
It was now two o'clock. Leaving there, we crossed
over the island, which takes about three-quarters of
an hour to do, and came to the North river. We
continued along the shore to the city, where we ar-
rived in the evening, much fatigued, having walked
this day about forty miles."
The rather singular record for the next day,
which was Sunday, was as follows : " We went at
noon to-day to hear the English minister, whose ser-
vice took place after the Dutch service was out.
There were not above twenty-five or thirty people
in the church. The first thing that occurred was
the reading of all their prayers and ceremonies out
of the prayer-book, as is done in all Episcopal
churches. A young man then went into the pulpit,
and commenced preaching, who thought he was per-
forming wonders. But he had a little book in his
hand, out of which he read his sermon which was
THE FINAL SURRENDER. 345
about quarter of an hour or half an hour long.
With this the services were concluded ; at which we
could not be sufficiently astonished.''
Though New York had passed over to British
rule, still for very many years the inhabitants re-
mained Dutch in their manners, customs and modes
of thought. There was a small stream, emptying
into the East river nearly opposite Blackwell's Isl-
and. This stream was crossed by a bridge which
was called Kissing Bridge. It was a favorite drive,
for an old Dutch custom entitled every gentleman
to salute his lady with a kiss as he crossed.
The town wind-mill stood on a bluff within the
present Battery. Pearl street at that time formed
the river bank. Both Water street and South street
have been reclaimed from the river. The city wall
consisted of a row of palisades, with an embankment
nine feet high. Upon the bastions of this rampart
several cannon were mounted.
The Olden Time.
Wealth and Rank of the Ancient Families. — Their Vast T^zcded
Estates. — Distinctions in Dress. — Veneration for the Patrooa. —
Kip's Mansion. — Days of the Revolution. — Mr. John Adams'
Journal. — Negro Slavery. — Consequences of the System. —
Many of the families who came from the Old
World to the Hudson when New Netherland was
under the Dutch regime, brought with them the
tokens of their former rank and affluence. Valuable
paintings adorned their walls. Rich plate glittered
upon their dining table. Obsequious servants, who
had been accustomed in feudal Europe to regard
their masters as almost beings of a superior order,
still looked up to them in the same reverential ser-
vice. The social distinctions of the old country very
soon began to prevail in the thriving village of New
York. The governor was fond of show and was
fully aware of its influence upon the popular mind.
His residence became the seat of quite a genteel
THE OLDEN TIME. 347
" The country was parcelled out,'' writes Rev.
Bishop Kip, " among great proprietors. We can
trace them from the city of New Amsterdam to the
northern part of the State. In what is now the
thickly populated city were the lands of the Stuyve-
sants, originally the Bouwerie of the old governor.
Next above were the grant to the Kip family, called
Kip's Bay, made in 1638. In the centre of the
island was the possessions of the De Lanceys.
Opposite, on Long Island, was the grant of the
Laurence family. We cross over Harlaem river
and reach Morrisania, given to the Morris family.
Beyond this on the East river, was De Lancey's
farm, another grant to that powerful family ; while
on the Hudson to the west, was the lower Van
Courtland manor, and the Phillipse manor. Above,
at Peekskill, was the upper manor of the Van
Courtlands. Then came the manor of Kipsburg,
purchased by the Kip family from the Indians in
1636, and made a royal grant by governor Dongan
two years afterwards.
" Still higher up was the Van Rensselaer manor,
twenty-four miles by forty-eight ; and above that
the possession of the Schuylers. Farther west, on
the Mohawk, were the broad lands of Sir William
Johnson, created a baronet for his services in the
348 PETER STUYVESANT.
old French and Indian wars, who lived in a rude
magnificence at Johnson Hall."
" The very names of places in some cases shov^
their history. Such for instance, is that of Yonkers.
The word Younker, in the languages of northern
Europe, means the nobly born, the gentleman. In
Westchester, on the Hudson river, still stands the
old manor house of the Phillipse family. The writer
remembers in his early days when visiting there, the
large rooms and richly ornamented ceilings, with
quaint old formal gardens about the house. When
before the revolution, Mr. Phillipse lived there, lord
of all he surveyed, he was always spoken of by his
tenantry as the Yonker, the gentleman, par excel~
lence. In fact he was the only person of social rank
in that part of the country. In this way the town,
which subsequently grew up about the old manor
house, took the name of Yonkers.
The early settlement of New England was very
different in its character. Nearly all the emigrants
were small farmers, upon social equalit)', cultivating
the fields with their own hands. Governors Carver
and Bradford worked as diligently with hoe and
plough as did any of their associates. They were
simply first among equals.
" The only exception to this," writes Mr. Kip,
" which we can remember was the case of the Gardi-
THE OLDEN TIME. 349
ners of Maine. Their wide lands were confiscated
for their loyalty. But on account of some informal-
ity, after the Revolution, they managed to recover
their property and are still seated at Gardiner.''
For more than a century these distinguished
families in New Netherland retained their suprema-
cy undisputed. They filled all the posts of honor
and emolument. The distinctions in society were
plainly marked by the dress. The costume of the
gentleman was very rich. His coat of glossy velvet
was lined with gold lace. His flowing sleeves and
ruffled cuffs gave grace to all the movements of his
arms and hands. Immense wigs adorned his brow
with almost the dignity of Olympian Jove. A glit-
tering rapier, with its embossed and jewelled scab-
bard, hung by his side.
The common people in New Netherland, would
no more think of assuming the dress of a gentleman
or lady, than with us, a merchant or mechanic would
think of decorating himself in the dress of a Major-
General in the United States army. There was an
impassable gulf between the peasantry and the aris-
tocracy. The laborers on these large Dutch estates
were generally poor peasants, who had been brought
over by the landed proprietors, passage free. They
were thus virtually for a number of years, slaves of
the patroon, serving him until, by their labor, they
3SO PETER STUYVESANT.
had paid for their passage money. In the language
of the day they were called Redemptioncrs. Often
the term of service of a man, who had come over
with his family, amounted to seven years.
" This system," writes Mr. Kip, '■ was carried out
to an extent of which most persons are ignorant.
On the Van Rensselaer manor, there were at one
time, several thousand tenants, and their gathering
was lilce that of the Scottish clans. V/hcn a mem-
ber of the family died they came down to Albany
to do honor at the funeral, and many were the
hogsheads of good ale which were broached for them.
They looked up to the Patroon with a reverence
which was still lingering in the writer's early day,
notwithstanding the inroads of democracy. And
before the Revolution this feeling was shared by
the whole country. When it was announced, in
New York, a century ago, that the Patroon was
coming down from Albany by land, the day he was
expected to reach the city, crowds turned out to
see him enter in his coach and four.
The aristocratic Dutchmen cherished a great con-
tempt for the democratic Puritans of New England.
One of the distinguished members of a colonial fam-
ily in New York, who died in the year 1 740, insert-
ed the following clause in his will :
" It is my wish that my son may have the best
THE OLDEN TIME. 351
education that is to be had in England or America.
But my express will and directions are, that he
never be sent for that purpose, to the Connecticut
colonies, lest he should imbibe in his youth, that
low craft and cunning, so incidental to the people
of that country, which is so interwoven in their con-
stitutions, that a;ll their acts cannot disguise it from
the world ; though many of them, under the sancti-
fied garb of religion, have endeavored to impose
themselves on the world as honest men."
Usually once in a year the residents in their im-
posing manorial homes repaired, from their rural re-
treats, to New York to make their annual purchas-
es. After the country passed into the hands of the
English, several men of high families came over.
These all held themselves quite aloof from the
masses of the people. And there was no more
disposition among the commonalty to claim equality
with these high-born men and dames, than there
was in England for the humble farmers to deny
any social distinction between themselves and the
occupants of the battlemented castles which over-
shadowed the peasant's lowly cot.
Lord Cornbury was of the blood royal. The
dress and etiquette of courts prevailed in his spa-
cious saloons. " About many of their old country
houses, ' writes Mr. Kip, " were associations gather-
352 PETER STUYVESANT.
ed often coming down from the first settlement of
the country, giving them an interest which can
never invest the new residences of those whom lat-
er times elevated through wealth. Such was the
Van Courtland manor-house, with its wainscotted
room and guest chamber ; the Rensselaer manor-
house, where of old had been entertained Talley-
rand, and the exiled princes from Europe ; the
Schuyler house, so near the Saratoga battle-field,
and marked by memories of that glorious event
in the life of its owner ; and the residence of
the Livingstons, on the banks of the Hudson,
of which Louis Philippe expressed such grate-
ful recollections when, after his elevation to the
throne, he met, in Paris, the son of his former
At Kip's Bay there was a large mansion which
for two centuries attracted the admiration of behold-
ers. It was a large double house with the addition
of a wing. From the spacious hall, turning to the
left, you entered the large dining-saloon. The two
front windows gave you a view of the beautiful bay.
The two rear windows opened upon a pleasant rural
landscape. In this dining-room a large dinnerparty
was held, in honor of Andre the day before he set
out upon his fatal excursion to West Point. In Sar-
gent's, " Life of Andre," we find a very interesting
THE OLDEN TIME. 353
description of this mansion, and of the scenes wit-
nessed there in olden time.
" Where now in New York is the unalluring and
crowded neighborhood of Second avenue and Thir-
ty-fifth street, stood, in 1780, the ancient Bowerie or
country seat of Jacobus Kip. Built in 1655, of
bricks brought from Holland, encompassed by pleas-
ant trees and in easy view of the sparkling waters
of Kip's Bay, on the East river, the mansion remain-
ed, even to our own times, in the possession of one
of its founder's line.
"When Washington was in the neighborhood,
Kip's house had been his quarters. When Howe
crossed from Long Island on Sunday, September
15th, 1776, he debarked at the rocky point hard by,
and his skirmishers drove our people from their po-
sition behind the dwelling. Since then it had
known many guests. Howe, Clinton, Kniphausen,
Percy were sheltered by its roof. The aged owner,
with his wife and daughter, remained. But they
had always an officer of distinction quartered with
them. And if a part of the family were in arms for
Congress, as is alleged, it is certain that others were
active for the Crown.
" Samuel Kip, of Kipsburg, led a cavalry troop
of his own tenantry, with great gallantry, in De Lan-
cey's regiment. And despite severe wounds, sur-
354 PETER STUYVESANT.
vived long after the war, a heavy pecuniary sufferer
by the cause which, with most of the landed gentry
of New York, he had espoused.
" In 1780, it was held by Colonel Williams, of
the 80th royal regiment. And here, on the evening
of the 19th of September, he gave a dinner to Sir
Henry Clinton and his staff, as a parting compliment
to Andre. The aged owner of the house was pres-
ent ; and when the Revolution was over he describ-
ed the scene and the incidents of that dinner. At
the table Sir Henry Clinton announced the depart-
ure of Andre next morning, on a secret and most
important expedition, and added, ' Plain John An-
dre will come back Sir John Andre.'
" How brilliant soever the company," Mr. Sar-
gent adds, "how cheerful the repast, its memory
must ever have been fraught with sadness to both
host and guests. It was the last occasion of Andre's
meeting his comrades in life. Four short days gone,
the hands, then clasped by friendship, were fettered
by hostile bonds. Yet nine days more and the
darling of the army, the youthful hero of the hour,
had dangled from a gibbet."
For two hundred and twelve years this mansion
of venerable memories remained. Then it was
swept away by the resistless tide of an advancing
population. The thronged pavements of Thirty-
THE OLDEN TIME. 355
fifth street now pass over the spot, where two centu-
ries ago the most illustrious men crowded the ban-
queting hall, and where youth and beauty met in
the dance and song. In view of these ravages of
time, well may we exclaim in the impressive words
of Burke, " What shadows we are and what shadows
In the year 1774, John Adams rode from Boston
to Philadelphia on horseback, to attend the first
meeting of Congress. His journal contains an
interesting account of this long and fatiguing tour.
Coming from the puritanic simplicity of Boston, he
was evidently deeply impressed with the style and
splendor which met his eye in New York. In glow-
ing terms he alludes to the elegance of their mode
of living, to the architectural grandeur of their
country seats ; to the splendor of Broadway, and to
the magnificent new church they were building,
which was to cost one hundred thousand dollars.
The aristocratic families of New York were
generally in favor of the Crown. They were not
disposed to pay any special attention to a delegate
to the democratic Congress. He had therefore no
opportunity of witnessing the splendor of these
ancient families. Two lawyers who had become
wealthy by their professional labors, received him
with honor. At their breakfast tables he beheld dis-
356 PETER STUYVESANT.
play, common enough in almost every genteel
household at the present day, but to which he was
quite unaccustomed in his frugal home at Quincy.
One cannot but be amused in reading the following
description of one of his entertainments :
" A more elegant breakfast I never saw ; rich
plate ; a very large silver coffee pot ; a very large
silver tea pot ; napkins of the very finest materials ;
toast and bread and butter in great perfection.
After breakfast a plate of beautiful peaches, another
of pears and a muskmelon were placed on the
The Revolution proved the utter ruin of these
great landed proprietors, who naturally espoused the
cause of the British court. The habits of life to
which they and their fathers had been accustomed
necessarily rendered all the levelling doctrines of the
Revolution offensive to them. They rallied around
the royal banners and went down with them.
Some few of the landed proprietors espoused the
cause of the people. Among others may be men-
tioned the Livingstons and the Schuylers, the Jays,
the Laurences, and a portion of the Van Courtlands,
and of the Morris family. Fortunately for the
Patroon Van Rensselaer, he was a minor, and thus
escaped the peril of attaching himself to eithei
•rHE OLDEN TIME. 357
Negro slavery in a mild form prevailed in these
early years in New York. The cruel and accursed
system had been early introduced into the colony.
Most of the slaves were domestic servants, very few
being employed in the fields. They were treated
with personal kindness. Still they were bondmen,
deprived of liberty, of fair wages, and of any chance
of rising in the world. Such men cannot, by any
possibility, be contented with their lot. Mr. Wil-
liam L. Stone, in his very interesting History of
New York, writes :
" As far back as 1628, slaves constituted a por-
tion of the population of New Amsterdam ; and to
such an extent had the traffic in them reached that,
in 1709, a slave market was erected at the foot of
Wall street, where all negroes who were to be hired
or sold, stood in readiness for bidders. Their intro-
duction into the colony was hastened by the colo-
nial establishment of the Dutch in Brazil and upon
the coast of Guinea, and also by the capture of
Spanish and Portuguese prizes with Africans on
" Several outbreaks had already happened among
the negroes of New Amsterdam ; and the whites
lived in constant anticipation of trouble and danger
from them. Rumors of an intended insurrection
real or imaginary, would circulate, as in the negro
358 PETER STUYVESANT.
plot of 1712, and the whole city be thrown into a
state of alarm. Whether there was any real danger
on these occasions, cannot now be known. But the
result was always the same. The slaves always suf-
fered, many dying by the fagot or the gallows."
In the year 1741, a terrible panic agitated the
whole city in apprehension of an insurrection of the
slaves. The most cruel laws had been passed to
hold them firmly in bondage. The city then con-
tained ten thousand inhabitants, two thousand of
whom were slaves. If three of these, " black seed
of Cain," were found together, they were liable
to be punished by forty lashes on the bare back.
The same punishment was inflicted upon a slave
found walking with a club, outside of his master's
grounds without a permit. Two justices could in-
flict any punishment, except amputation or death,
upon any slave who should make an assault upon
a Christian or a Jew.
A calaboose or jail for slaves stood on the Park
Common. Many of the leading merchants in New
York were engaged in the slave trade. Several fires
had taken place, which led to the suspicion that the
slaves had formed a plot to burn the city and mas-
sacre the inhabitants. The panic was such that the
community seemed bereft of reason. A poor, weak,
half-crazed servant-girl, Mary Burton, in a sailor's
THE OLDEN TIME. 359
boarding house, testified, after much importunity,
that she had overheard some negroes conferring re-
specting setting the town on fire.
At first she confined her accusations to the
blacks. Then she began to criminate white people,
bringing charges against her landlord, his wife and
other white persons in the household. In a History
of this strange affair written at the time, by Daniel
Horsmanden, one of the Justices of the Supreme
Court, we read,
" The whole summer was spent in the prosecu-
tions. A coincidence of slight circumstances was
magnified, by the general terror, into violent pre-
sumptions. Tales collected without doors, mingling
with the proofs given at the bar, poisoned the
minds of the jurors, and this sanguinary spirit of
the day suffered no check until Mary, the capital in-
former, bewildered by the frequent examinations
and suggestions, began to touch characters which
malice itself dare not suspect.''
During this period of almost insane excitement,
thirteen negroes were burned at the stake, eighteen
were hanged, and seventy transported.
I cannot conclude this treatise upon the olden
time better than by quoting the eloquei t words of
Mr. Kip :
" The dress, which had for generations been the
360 PETER STUYVESANT.
sign and symbol of a gentleman, gradually waned
away, till society reached that charming state of
equality in which it became impossible, by any out-
ward costume, to distinguish masters from servants.
John Jay says, in one of his letters, that with small
clothes and buckles the high tone of society de-
parted. In the writer's early day this system of the
past was just going out. Wigs and powder and
queues, breeches and buckles, still lingered among
the older gentlemen, vestiges of an age which was
" But the high toned feeling of the last century
was still in the ascendant, and had pot yet suc-
cumbed to the worship of mammon, which charac-
terizes this age. There was still in New York a
reverence for the colonial families, and the prominent
political men, like Duane, Clinton, Colden, Raddiff,
Hoffman cind Livingston, were generally gentlemen,
both by birth and social standing. The time had
not yet come when this was to be an objection to an
individual in a political career. The leaders were
men whose names were historical in the State, and
they influenced society. The old families still
formed an association among themselves, and inter-
married, one generation after another. Society was
therefore very restricted. The writer remembers
in his childhood, when he went out with his father
THE OLDEN TIME. 36J
for his afternoon drive, he knew every carriage they
met on the avenues.
" The gentlemen of that day knew each othei
well, for they had grown up together and their
associations in the past were the same. Yet, what
friendships for after-life did these associations form !
There was, in those days, none of the show and glit-
ter of modern times. But there was, with many of
these families, particularly with those who had
retained their landed estates and were still living in
their old family homes, an elegance which has never
been rivalled in other parts ot the country. In his
early days the writer has been much at the South ,
has staid at Mount Vernon when it was held by
the Washingtons ; with Lord Fairfax's family,
at Ashgrove and Vancluse; but he has never
elsewhere seen such elegance of living as was
formerly exhibited by the old families of New
" One thing is certain, that there was a high tone
prevailing at that time, which is now nowhere to be
seen. The community then looked up to public
men, with a degree of reverence which has never
been felt by those who have succeeded them. They
were the last of a race which does not now exist.
With them died the stateliness of colonial times.
Wealth came in and created a social distinction
362 PETER STUYVESANT.
which took the place of family; and thus society
" The influences of the past are fast vanishing
away, and our children will look only to the shadowy
future. The very rule by which we estimate individ-
uals has been entirely altered. The inquiry once
was, ' Who is he ? ' Men now ask the question,
• How much is he worth ? ' Have we gained by the
change ? "